World Cup: The Botha who may be England’s secret weapon

2011-06-15 00:00

BLOEMFONTEIN — Mouritz Botha, a South African from Vryheid in KwaZulu-Natal, could be the surprise package in England’s squad for this year’s Rugby World Cup.

Botha became eligible to play for England this year.

The 29-year-old Saracens lock has been lauded by the English media after his feisty performance at Gloucester’s Kingsholm ground against Tonga on Sunday.

In particular, it was his bone crunching tackles on the physical Tongans that attracted big attention in the English Saxons’ 41-14 victory in a Churchill Cup match.

Saxons’ coach, Stuart Lancaster, said that many of their forwards impressed so much that they could be included in England coach Martin Johnson’s Rugby World Cup training squad.

After Botha had represented English club side, Bedford Blues, in 73 matches since 2006, Saracens’ South African coach, Brendan Venter, made him an offer in 2009.

He has since excelled at Saracens. He made his debut for the Saxons in their 87-8 victory over America.

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