Sarla unveils J9 jersey in honour of Joost

The exclusive J9 South African Rugby Legends Association (Sarla) jersey gives rugby fans a chance to own a piece of rugby history, all the while celebrating the life of a legend.

In honour of Joost van der Westhuizen, who in February, died due to a long battle with motor neuron disease, the jersey was unveiled at his provincial funeral service earlier in the year, and was first worn by former Springbok and Sharks player, Dave von Hoesslin during a Sarla Legends game against the Puma Legends at the Malelane Rugby Club in Mpumalanga.

The jersey has J9 printed on the back, symbolising the great respect and admiration that Sarla and rugby fans alike had for Van der Westhuizen’s on-field prowess, according to Sarla. It further symbolises the dignity and strength he showed during his battle against the disease. The jersey is worn for Sarla games only.

“It was a massive honour for me to run out wearing the jersey for the first time,” said Von Hoesslin. “I’ve been fortunate to be part of the J9 Foundation’s International 10s Rugby team for the annual Dubai 10s tournament, a team with players from all over the world.

“Because of my involvement, I grew close to Joost and his family, so when I was asked to play in this game I didn’t hesitate to say yes.”
Sarla president, Gavin Varejes, was full of praise for Van der Westhuizen, saying the skill the former Springbok player showed on the field of play was astonishing.” We are so touched to unveil this jersey as a tribute to Joost,” said Varejes. “His flair and skill as a scrumhalf made him one of the all-time greats in this position, and his work in establishing the J9 Foundation, which supports anyone suffering from motor neuron disease, has brought hope to many.

“The J9 jersey is our tribute to an extraordinary man and we are very happy to announce that proceeds from the sale of the jersey will go towards the J9 Foundation. Anyone who purchases and wears the J9 jersey will add to the work done by the J9 Foundation as well as celebrate the memory of a rugby legend.”

Details: The next Sarla Legends game is on 16 September.

Read: U20 Bok coach Chean Roux pleased as Junior Boks kick off warm-up itinerary with a win

Tshepiso Mametela

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