Mouritz Botha to add depth to depleted Sharks side

2014-12-06 00:00

THE Sharks were hit hard by injuries to their second row this year and have signed Mouritz Botha to beef up the lock stocks for the upcoming Super Rugby season.

Botha has signed a two-year contract with the Durban outfit, marking his homecoming to his province of birth.

The burly lock hails from Vryheid but has plied his trade for English club Saracens in the Aviva Premiership since 2009. He won the competition with Saracens back in 2011 and earned himself a call up to represent England.

He made his debut for his adopted nation that year against Wales. ­England went on to win 23-19.

Botha earned more caps for ­England in 2012 in the Six Nations starting every game and played against his old countrymen in England’s tour of South Africa later that year. He has since racked up 10 international caps and has played 110 matches for Saracens.

Botha’s addition to the Sharks squad will be a welcome one following a year that saw rising star Pieter-Steph du Toit go out injured. Sharks veteran lock Anton Bresler also spent a lot of time sidelined with a shoulder injury during this year’s Super Rugby season. He has since joined Scottish club Edinburgh, further depleting the Sharks’ lock stockpile.

Stephan Lewies and Etienne ­Oosthuizen did well in the absence of the two first-choice locks but the Super Rugby season is long and depth is key to a successful campaign, hence Botha’s signing.

“Mouritz is a great acquisition for the Cell C Sharks and his experience gained at international level will be hugely beneficial to our squad. He will add significant value and depth to our tight five,” said Sharks CEO John Smit after confirming the lock’s signing.

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