Ashwin Willemse

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Ashwin Willemse
Date of birth (1981-09-08) September 8, 1981 (age 37)
Place of birth Caledon, Western Cape
Height 1.90 m (6 ft 3 in)
Weight 92 kg (14 st 7 lb)
School Swartberg Secondary
Rugby union career
Playing career
Position Wing
Super Rugby
Years Club / team Caps (points)
National team(s)
Years Club / team Caps (points)
2003–07 South Africa 19 (25)

Ashwin Willemse (born 8 September 1981 in Caledon, Western Cape) is a retired South African rugby union player. He played at wing for the national team, the Springboks. He was one of the outstanding performers during the 2003 season.

After winning an IRB Under-21 World Cup gold medal for South Africa in 2002, the hard-working wing, set about gaining much needed Super 12 experience with the Cats (now called the Lions).

His pace, speed and power contributed to him being selected for his test debut against Scotland and he did not look back. He was included in the South Africa 2003 Rugby World Cup squad and scored a spectacular solo try against Samoa.

Ashwin's achievements of 2003 are confirmed by the fact that he scooped the top three awards at the annual SA Rugby function - Player of the Year, Most Promising Player of the Year and Players' Player of the Year.

Willemse was badly injured for most of the 2004-2006 seasons. However, he was selected for the Springbok squad during the 2007 international season and Tri nations, and was selected for the 2007 Rugby World Cup squad.

He then signed a two-year contract with Biarritz Olympique, joining a host of other top Springboks choosing to continue their careers abroad after RWC 2007. [1]

He subsequently retired from international rugby stating "there are no controversial issues around my decision at all. I love the team, and the guys are exceptional. It was such a breath of fresh air being able to return to the Lions after some time overseas last year, and it has been so exciting. I have been able to play the best rugby of my career with the Lions, and I will miss each and every one of my teammates. The time, however, has come for me to move onto the next phase of my life". [1]

In 2012, he launched GreenSmile Foundation with former Springbok rugby player Breyton Paulse. It is dedicated to helping educate and create better opportunities for children from socio-economic hardships. On 7 September 2012, he had a son named Africa Blue-Skye with his life partner Michelle Tasic.

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