Botes set for final King’s Park appearance

2014-10-01 00:00

THE Sharks’ Currie Cup clash against the Lions on Friday night will most likely be the final home appearance for Sharks stalwart Jacques Botes.

The match is crucial in their bid to secure a home semi-final, but the likelihood of that happening is slim. The Sharks need to beat the Lions with a bonus point on Friday and hope the Lions then lose to the Cheetahs next week to move into second place on the log.

Botes, who is the most capped Sharks and Currie Cup player in history, has come to terms with the fact it could be his last time running out in front of the King’s Park faithful.

“I am preparing as if it is the last one. We don’t know what will happen in the weeks to come, so it’s truly going to be amazing for me,” the 33-year-old said.

“Reminiscing over the amount of games I have actually played here, it’s one thing you will definitely remember for the rest of your life. Why I say that is there are so many supporters out there that come here week in and week out that have experienced the same emotions we have with the victories and losses,” said Botes.

Sharks coach Brad Macleod-Henderson hopes his players can pull off a win to honour Botes’s contribution to the Sharks.

“I think I said earlier in the week, the word legend is used a bit too often nowadays, but he is really a legend both on the field and off it.

“As a team man, I don’t think you will find better anywhere in the world and we will be going into potentially his last game at King’s Park to make sure he gets a victory,” the coach said.

Botes made it clear at the beginning of the season he would retire and said it was different from years past when he had considered hanging up his boots.

“That makes you just treasure every last minute you have on the field. You want to make sure you don’t leave anything out there and take it in, absorb it and enjoy the aches and pains and everything that comes with it,” he said.

The Lions have a formidable loose trio and Botes knows his team-mates will have to fire come Friday evening.

“Upfront, scrum-wise they are leading the pack there at the moment. They’ve got a bruising forward pack, but having said that, I think they’ve some nice continuity they have built on from Super Rugby moving into the Currie Cup,” he said.

Looking specifically at their players, he holds young Lions flank and Blitsbok Kwagga Smith in high regard.

“Kwagga has just come onto the scene and been immense for them. He almost reminds me of Keagan [Daniel] to a certain extent where he punches well above his weight. He’s a physical, in-your-face kind of individual,” Botes said.

Despite that fact, he is really excited about going down the tunnel one last time.

“Running out at King’s Park is something I have always enjoyed and I will never get tired of,” he said.

The Sharks host the Lions at King’s Park on Friday. Kickoff is at 7.10 pm.


scrum-wise they are leading the pack there at the moment.

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