Botha defends 'bone-crunching' tackles - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Botha defends 'bone-crunching' tackles

By Luke Phillips 13/11/2009 08:16:03 AM Comments (0)

South Africa's chief enforcer Bakkies Botha has insisted that what goes on during a game of rugby was neither "violence" nor anything to do with his normal life.

Botha, standing 2.02 metres tall and weighing 118 kilos, has built a reputation on being the hardman of a hard Springbok team, renowned for using his enormous physical strength in clearing out rucks and putting in some bone-crunching tackles.

That has seen him run into trouble, most recently during the British and Irish Lions tour in the summer when he was banned for two weeks for a "dangerous charge", having hit a ruck that left Welsh prop Duncan Jones with a dislocated shoulder.

But the 30-year-old, capped 63 times by South Africa and in the line-up to face France at the Municipal Stadium on Friday, said he was really "quite a relaxed guy".

"A lot of people think I bite my wife and kick the kids," Botha joked Thursday.

"But I'm really a very different person off the pitch to the player I am on it.

"Someone must really rock the boat to get me going."

Botha also dispelled talk about the levels of "violence" in games.

"For me, violence means guns and knives. A game for me means physicality, and physicality gives me goosebumps, the idea of going around shifting rucks around the field," he said, praising fellow lock Victor Matfield with whom he forms the best second-row pairing in world rugby.

"Victor brings a calmness to the game and hopefully we'll keep going until the 2011 World Cup," Botha said.

"It's like a relationship we have and we must work on it every day.

"Victor calls the line-outs but I can read his body language and I know without him saying what he'll call.

"We still push each other and know there's room for improvement and especially with things to achieve."

The 32-year-old Matfield, who spent six months at Toulon and who will win his 90th cap against France, admitted: "Maybe I'm the brain and Bakkies is the brawn.

"I enjoy playing with Bakkies. He does all the hard work and allows me to play!

"Bakkies brings physicality and a hard edge that the Boks need. There's not a player in the world who can hit a ruck like him.

"I really hope we can go on for two more years and get better and with every year work harder to improve," said Matfield, man-of-the-match in the final when South Africa won the 2007 World Cup in France.

"But first things first - we haven't beaten France on French soil since 1997 and it would be a great achievement if we could do that."

Botha also had a parting word of warning for Sebastian Chabal, the hirsute French lock or No 8 who is on the replacements' bench for Friday's clash.

"I think I know who he is," he said. "The man with the nice, straight hair... Maybe I'll meet him in a ruck or two."

Brought to you by AAP AAP © 2020 AAP

0 Comments about this article

Post a comment about this article

Please sign in to leave a comment.
Becoming a member is free and easy, sign up here.

« All sports news