Never auto play After an international rivalry that spanned eight years, former All Black halfback Justin Marshall admits it was difficult watching the deterioration of great friend and adversary Joost van der Westhuizen over the past six years. The great South African half has finally succumbed to motor neurond disease, passing away in Johannesburg at the age of 45. Marshall, now a SKY Sport commentator, matched up against van der Westhuizen many times during the early years of professional rugby in the late 1990s and continued that relationship off-field, as the Springbok legend battled to raise money and awareness for the illness that would inevitably claim his life. "Joost got myself and [Australian halfback] George Gregan over during the early stages, but we both went over there just under two years ago for more personal reasons," he told Radio Sport Breakfast. "Yes, he was raising money for his charity, but Joost just wanted to spend some time with us, so we went out to a bit of a lodge just outside Johannesburg and spent two or three days with him. "In the early stages, he was OK, but two years ago, he was confined to a wheelchair, struggling to hold his head and needed a neck brace. "Things weren't looking that great at that stage and it was really difficult to see him like that, when we knew what he was like as a player on the rugby field. Both George and I were pleased we went over and had that great opportunity to spend some personal time with him. Continued below.