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Rugby fans can get an early taste of the Sevens fever that will take over Dubai this weekend by hanging out with some of the sport’s most iconic veterans tonight at The Huddle bar in Bur Dubai.

The venue will be hosting Joost van der Westhuizen, former scrumhalf of South Africa’s 1995 World Cup-winning team, along with the rugby team of the J9 World Legends.

When he retired from international rugby in 2003, van der Westhuizen was the most capped South African player.

The J9 World Legends represent van der Westhuizen’s foundation, the J9 Foundation, which he set up in aid of those suffering from the same form of fatal illness with which he was diagnosed in early 2011, Motor Neurone Disease (MND).

Van der Westhuizen, who is now confined to a wheelchair, said of the reasons behind setting up his foundation: “I have to fight, not just for me but for all the other sufferers.

“In South Africa there has been no research; the disease is hidden. People have had no information, so I decided that I would do what I could to help them.

“That keeps me going and it makes me happy to see some benefits.”

He is also launching the collaboration with scientists from the University of Edinburgh to find ways to tackle the ailment.

The J9 World Legends is the most capped, inaugural rugby 7s Legends Veteran team set to play in an invitational tournament at the 2013 Emirates Rugby Sevens.

The team boasts an array of 15 former international rugby greats with a combined total of more than 1000 international Test Caps, not to mention their patron, van der Westhuizen, one of the world’s greatest scrum-halves, with 89 caps for the Boks.

Joining him tonight will be a host of top draws including former Wales captain and British and Irish Lions player, Colin Charvis. The 40-year-old has a total of 96 international caps. Six years ago, he became the world record try scorer for a forward in Test match rugby – a record which was later overtaken by Japan’s Takashi Kikutani.

Fiji’s Waisale Serevi, dubbed the ‘King of Sevens’, Stephen Larkham of Australia and New Zealand’s Carlos Spencer will also be in the mix.

During the evening there will be an official ‘jersey swap’, where players have been asked to bring an item of their playing career memorabilia, and will swap it for their J9 Legends playing jersey.

The Huddle, at the Citymax Hotel, will open its doors to the public on a first-come first-served basis for a cover charge of Dh250 which includes unlimited regular beverages and canapes, whilst mingling with van der Westhuizen and the J9 legends from 20:30 to 23:30.

What: An evening with Joost van der Westhuizen and the J9 World Legends
Where: The Huddle, Citymax Hotel, Bur Dubai
When: Tonight, November 26, 20:30 to 23:30
Cost: Dh250
Reservations: Call 050 501 5952

 

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