Bakkies Botha

Mourad Boudjellal

Toulon president Mourad Boudjellal

Toulon president Mourad Boudjellal has demanded that Bryan Habana and Bakkies Botha quit the Springboks’ current Rugby Championship campaign and report for club duty.

Toulon recently lost 28-24 to Stade Francais, and currently sit at third on the Top 14 log.

Boudjellal is clearly not pleased with his side’s form at present, and has publicly lamented the club’s lengthy list of injuries as well as the absence of international stars like Habana, Botha, and Pumas flanker Juan Martin Fernandez Lobbe.

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Bakkies Botha

Springbok hard man, Bakkies Botha, showing his romantic side

Springbok and Toulon lock Bakkies Botha has spoken about life in France, the final 18 months of his career and what he has planned after rugby.

After his successful run with the Springboks in June against the World XV and Wales, the My Players website caught up with the 35-year-old during his off time in the South African bush.

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South AfricaIt is understood that French-based players in the Springbok squad are unlikely to be available to play Scotland in next week’s Test in Port Elizabeth.

This means the likes of Morne Steyn, Gurthro Steenkamp, Bakkies Botha and Bryan Habana will all have to report back to their clubs.

It’s understood the clubs will invoke International Rugby Board (IRB) Regulation Nine, which governs the release of players for the June test window.

The regulation stipulates that releases are required for the second, third and fourth weekends of June, or for three matches.

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Lood de Jager

Lood de Jager

The value of having veteran Bakkies Botha in the Springbok squad could be measured by how much time it takes new cap Lood de Jager to settle and become comfortable at international level.

The influence that the likes of Botha and now Victor Matfield could have on the development of the young players in the squad has often been referred to as one of the main reasons for having them in the mix.

It was when he saw the awe with which the youngsters regarded Botha when he joined the Boks in Wales last year that coach Heyneke Meyer made the decision to get the one half of the legendary “Blood Brother” combination into the mix more regularly.

But there is nothing quite like hearing it direct from the horse’s mouth, and De Jager left little doubt after his announcement in the match day 23 for Saturday’s first test against Wales here in Durban on Saturday that the presence of both Botha and Matfield has added even greater impetus to what has already been a special time for him.

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Bryan Habana, Bakkies Botha, Juan Smith & Danie Rossouw at Toulon

Bryan Habana, Bakkies Botha, Juan Smith & Danie Rossouw at Toulon

Toulon’s South African contingent capped an unbelievably successful seven days by lifting the Bouclier de Brennus shield in Paris, after defeating Castres 18-10 in the Top 14 Final to go with their Heineken Cup title.

Former England fly-half Jonny Wilkinson was given the perfect send-off by Bakkies Botha, Juan Smith, Craig Burden and Bryan Habana, who all started the final, with Danie Rossouw and Michael Claassens appearing off the bench.

The match was Rossouw’s last before retirement and brings down the curtain on a truly glorious career in which he was won every trophy available to him, from league titles in Japan, France and Super Rugby to two Heineken Cups and of course the Rugby World Cup and old Tri-Nations.

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Victor Matfield & Bakkies Botha

Victor Matfield & Bakkies Botha

“Blood brothers” Victor Matfield and Bakkies Botha could be reunited as the Springbok lock pairing in Test matches this year, the Rapport newspaper indicates.

Botha, 34, recently returned to action for his French club Toulon after missing most of the year with a broken arm. He was a key figure for Toulon when they won the Heineken Cup final at the weekend, beating English club Saracens 23-6 at Cardiff’s Millennium Stadium.

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Bakkies BothaSpringbok and Toulon lock Bakkies Botha has tweeted an X-ray showing nine steel pins inserted into a plate in his broken arm.

The Springbok and Toulon lock successfully underwent an operation to have a plate inserted in his arm after he broke it in Toulon’s 23-10 Top 14 defeat against Brive.

Botha is expected be out for two-and-a-half months, and he has indicated that his rehabilitation is on track.

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South AfricaCombining a fair bit of Springbok news, as speculation flows…

John McFarland, Springbok defensive coach says the Springbok defences were already better last week compared to the previous game against the All Blacks.

Scribes worry and remind Bakkies Botha to keep his dicipline on field and not to succumb to the “Red Mist” od ill-dicipline and the real threat of Yellow or Red Cards.

It also appears that both the formidable frame of young Pieter-Steph du Toit (lock) and that of Patrick Lambie will be in the run-on side for the Springboks on the weekend, with scribes writing up the virtues of Pieter-Steph du Toit almost non-stop, whilst others consider Lambie the perfect fir for the Scotland game.

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South AfricaInternational news is flowing like a river in flood today, seems I have been updating all day, today… but we like it that way, don’t we!

Reviews of the Fourie du Preez try, clearly shows that Jaque Fourie was ahead of Fourie du Preez when he kicked, did not retreat and the subsequent try, however well-worked, should not have been awarded. Another blemish on refereeing in 2013!

Looking ahead at this weekend’s clash against Scotland, it appears at this stage if Bakkies Botha might get a starting berth at lock and it looks likely that Patrick Lambie will get the nod at flyhalf.

Meanwhile Morné Steyn is responding well to treatment for his back spasm injury and it looks likely that he’ll also be ready for Sunday’s match.

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South AfricaSiyabonga “Scarra” Ntubeni is one of four uncapped players who will join three stalwarts of the Rugby World Cup winning squad of 2007, JP Pietersen, Jaque Fourie and Bakkies Botha, in 32-man Springbok squad for the forthcoming Castle Lager Outgoing Tour to Wales, Scotland and France.

It will be Botha and Fourie’s first involvement with the Springboks since the previous Rugby World Cup, in 2011 in New Zealand, while Pietersen is back in the squad for the first time this year.

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Heineken CupToday is the third and final day of matches in the first round of the pool stage of the Heineken Cup. In what is arguably the pick of the day’s matches Glasgow Warriors travel to France to take on Toulon. These teams currently top the RabboDirect PRO12 and French Top 14 respectively. The game is due to kick off at 16.00 South African Time.

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The latest news regarding Player Movements, the appointment of coaches and player movement miths set straight.

Some players are definately moving, some are extending their stay, some refute rumours of possible movement, whilst on the coaching side of things the John Mitchell saga carries on. The Crusaders also appoint 2 vital Assistant coaches for 2013.

You will find the news, item by item below:

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Our sport is more enjoyable to watch than it was in the olden times when I was young, but there are a few things about the modern game I would rather be without. (I read this and posted it, purely because of Lee Grants obvious hatred of our boys, which he mentions on several occasions. What are your thoughts?)

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The latest development in the rugby wheel is the evolution of the second row forward – the left lock or enforcer lock in particular. Traditionally a bulky, abrasive character, the enforcer lock does the donkey work in the tight-loose, bashes opposition forwards into submission and beefs up the set pieces.

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Blues (13) 26 / Waratahs (8) 13 (Final Score) 

The Blues hosted the Waratahs at Eden Park, Auckland at 09:35 SA Time. This was the match thread for discussion of the game. The match was broadcast live on SuperSport 1, SHD & CSN on TV in SA.

This was the first of the two play-off matches to decide who will be in the semi-finals. No 4 on the Combined Log (Blues) at home against No 5 on the Combined Log (Waratahs.

The Blues were just more clinical, more hungry and it showed on the final score. It was a good game of rugby, considering it is about knockout rugby and not silky bonus point rugby.

Well done Blues.

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HALFBACK Luke Burgess has likely played his final game for the Waratahs after breaking his hand at training yesterday, further disrupting an already chaotic build-up with several other injuries already depleting the NSW side for Friday’s  elimination final in Auckland.

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Waratahs (10) 41 / Brumbies (0) 7 (Final Score)

The Waratahs hosted the Brumbies at ANZ Stadium,  Sydney at 11:40 SA Time. This was the match thread for discussion of the game. The match was broadcast live on SuperSport 1,  SHD & M-Net on TV in SA.

The Waratahs were full value for their money as they dominated and demolished the Brumbies, getting a full haul of 5 Log points, now ahhead of both the Sharks and the Bulls, into 5th spot overall.

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Waratahs (19) 33 / Highlanders (7) 7 (Final Score)

The Waratahs hosted the Higlanders at Sydney Footbaal Stadium, Sydney at 11:40 SA Time. This was the match thread for discussion of the game. The match was broadcast live on SuperSport 1, SHD & M-Net on TV in SA.
A full 5 Log points for the Waratahs, keeping their Play-off hopes alive.

Bulls (13) 23 / Waratahs (6) 17 (Final Score)

The Vodacom Bulls hosted the Waratahs at Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria at 19:10 SA Time. This was the match Thread for discussion of the game. The match was broadcast live on SuperSport 1, SHD & M-Net on TV in SA.

The Waratahs made quite a game of it and worried the Bulls throughout the match but in the end the Bulls won by 23 / 17, a slender 6-point margin.

Mission accomplished, 4 points in the bag for the Bulls, pity about the one point for the Waratahs.

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