A winger of incredible power and speed, Ashwin Willemse ran an arduous road to becoming a Springbok. Learn more about his story with Rugby365
Ashwin Willemse Biography
Ashwin Willemse, the retired Springbok winger, was born in Caledon, Western Cape. His personal background was, like many Springboks, one of hardship and turmoil.
His professional career started with the Boland Kavaliers at the turn of the millennium when he was 19 years old. Reaching that level alone, was arduous and surprising to the Springbok as he recalls falling prey to gangsterism and other socio-economic issues within his community.
He managed to escape the dark clutches within his neighbourhood and found an outlet at Boland that would take him on a journey his wildest dreams would not expect.
Ashwin Willemse made the right impression winning the IRB Under-21 Rugby World Cup with his team in 2002.
Afterwards he would make his way to the Lions, then known as the Cats, to gain some Super Rugby experience.
The resilient winger would also be named for the 2003 Rugby World Cup side that saw South Africa knocked out by New Zealand in the quarter final. In South Africa’s 60 - 10 victory over Samoa, Ashwin Willemse bagged a spectacular solo try.
Later that year he would win Player of the Year, Most promising Player of the Year, and Players’ Player of the Year at the annual SA Rugby function.
Unfortunately the Springbok would suffer some debilitating injuries that would put him out for much of the 2004 - 2006 seasons. In 2007 he would return to feature in the Tri-Nations (now The Rugby Championship) as well as the 2007 Rugby World Cup that the Springboks took home.
The powerful winger would enjoy two more years of rugby at the Lions before moving to Biarritz Olympique in the French League.
From a situation that seemed hopeless, Ashwin Willemse carved a new destiny for himself and created a legacy of which he and future generations can be proud. He, like many other Springboks, showed that circumstance is not the final chapter, but the first, and from it we write our own story