Joost van der Westhuizen, former Springbok rugby player and captain, lost his five-year battle with motor neuron disease on Monday. The Number 9 had been taken to hospital in a critical condition over the weekend and died at his home surrounded by family.
Tributes from around the world poured in for the South African legend and the local press did the same on their front pages on Tuesday. The majority of the country’s dailies led with the news, with some choosing big, bold images as a full page take-over to honour the former Springbok.
Die Burger kept it simple with a solemn picture simply reading “Goodbye, No 9” while Die Beeld went with an action shot and the headline: “No 9 on the field, No 1 in our hearts.”
The Citizen chose a black and white image of Van der Westhuizen during his illness with an action shot from his playing days in the sub-deck.
Cape Town dailies The Argus and The Cape Times led with action shots in their headers, with editorials honouring Van der Westhuizen’s memory also printed on the front pages.
Up in Johannesburg, the sister papers to Cape Town’s dailies, The Star and The Times took a similar approach with editorial taking precedent over imagery.
Meanwhile, Pietermaritzburg’s The Witness went for a striking image from Van der Westhuizen’s playing days, covering half the page with editorial underneath.
In his heyday, Van der Westhuizen was one of the most recognised players in the world and was a thorn in the side of many international teams, including England and New Zealand. The news, though, did not make the front pages of these papers, with most international dailies keeping their tributes to the sports pages. DM
Photo: A candle and flowers laid in remembrance of the late former Springbok scrumhalf Joost van der Westhuizen on display outside the Loftus Versfeld stadium in Pretoria, South Africa, 06 February 2017. The 45-year-old van der Westhuizen lost his battle to motor neuron disease after being diagnosed in 2013. EPA/PHIL MAGAKOE
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