Rugby great Van der Westhuizen 'in critical condition'

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South Africa rugby great Joost van der Westhuizen is in a critical condition in hospital as he continues to fight Motor Neuron Disease (MND).

Van der Westhuizen, a member of the iconic 1995 World Cup-winning Springbok side, was diagnosed with the debilitating illness in 2011.

A deterioration in the 45-year-old's condition resulted in his admission to hospital on Saturday, according to a statement issued by the J9 Foundation, which he set up to help MND sufferers.

"The family and friends of Joost ask that you all pray for Joost. He was taken to hospital earlier today and is in a critical condition," read the statement.

"We ask that you all please respect the family's time at the moment."

Van der Westhuizen is widely regarded as one of the greatest scrum-halves in the game's history and lifted the Webb Ellis Trophy in 1995 when his side beat New Zealand 15-12 in the final.

He made 89 appearances for the Springboks over a 10-year international career, scoring 38 tries.