Joost Van Der Westhuizen in action for South Africa.
Joost Van Der Westhuizen in action for South Africa. KIM LUDBROOK

Springbok hero in hospital

RUGBY UNION: World Cup winner Joost van der Westhuizen is in a "stable but critical condition" after being taken to hospital on Saturday (AEST).

His J9 foundation said the former scrum-half, who was diagnosed with motor neurone disease in 2011, was still in hospital and released a statement.

"The family and friends of Joost ask that you all pray for Joost," his J9 Foundation said on Facebook.

"He was taken to hospital earlier today and is in a stable but critical condition.

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

"When we have updates, we will let you know. For now, we ask that we all bow our heads in prayer."

The incurable disease which damages parts of the nervous system has left van der Westhuizen confined to a wheelchair and he was given two to five years to live when he was diagnosed.

The 45-year-old, now confined to a wheelchair, was part of the Springboks team which defeated the All Blacks 15-12 to win the Rugby World Cup final on home soil in 1995 at Ellis Park, Johannesburg.

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