Bakkies calls it a day
LONDON — Springbok lock and Rugby World Cup winner Bakkies Botha (pictured) has announced his retirement from international rugby.
Botha made his Test debut on November 9, 2002 against France in Marseille. His 85th and final appearance for South Africa was last Saturday, when he came on as a replacement in the 31-28 victory over England at Twickenham.
During a stellar career, the 35-year-old lock won the Rugby World Cup with the Springboks in 2007 and was victorious at almost every other level of the game.
He has winners’ medals from the TriNations, British & Irish Lions Series, Super Rugby, Currie Cup and Vodacom Cup, as well as the Heineken Cup and French Top 14.
Botha is the seventh most-capped Springbok of all time, a three-time SA Rugby Player of the Year nominee (2003, 2004 and 2005) and holds the world record for the most Tests as a lock combination in the starting line-up with Victor Matfield (63).
“The news of my retirement will probably be described as sudden and unexpected, but it is a decision that I’ve been mulling over since 2011,” said Botha. Botha said that when he limped off the field with an Achilles injury during the Rugby World Cup in 2011, he felt he had not left the game on his own terms. “I wanted to leave the jersey behind knowing I honoured the men who wore it before me, as well as the people who had supported me throughout my career.