Top try-scoring scrum-half after a decade at the top - Van der Westhuizen's Springboks career in Opta numbers


The death of South African rugby legend Joost van der Westhuizen was announced on Monday, the former scrum-half passing away aged 45 following a battle with motor neurone disease.

Van der Westhuizen - a World Cup winner with the Springboks in 1995 - was regarded as one of the finest number nines in Test rugby history and captained his country for four years.

Here, with the help of Opta, we take a look at some of the numbers behind his outstanding career.


593 - Van der Westhuizen was the 593rd player to represent South Africa internationally, making his debut against Argentina in Buenos Aires on November 6, 1993.

89 - He won 89 caps for his country, making 87 appearances at scrum-half and two on the wing.

10 - Van der Westhuizen's Springboks career spanned 10 years, representing South Africa from 1993 to 2003.

4 - Only four players have made more Test appearances at scrum-half - Australia's George Gregan (137), Italy's Alessandro Troncon (101), Mike Phillips of Wales and the British and Irish Lions (99), and Ireland's Peter Stringer (97).

38 - Van der Westhuizen amassed 38 tries during his Test career, becoming the South African record holder with his 21st against Australia on July 18, 1998. His record was broken by Bryan Habana in 2011.

0 - No scrum-half has scored more Test tries than Van der Westhuizen. New Zealand's Justin Marshall is second on 24, with Welsh great Gareth Edwards a further four adrift.

67 - The Springboks number nine won 60 Tests, losing 26 and drawing one, giving him a win percentage of 67.

8 - During the 1995 World Cup, Van der Westhuizen won eight turnovers - the most by any back and second in the tournament overall.