Bakkies heads home following third injury

2011-10-06 07:24

Springbok lock Bakkies Botha will return home from the Rugby World Cup in New Zealand tomorrow after picking up his third injury of the tournament.

A replacement would not be called up, team management said yesterday, unless the Boks progressed beyond their quarterfinal against Australia in Wellington on Sunday.

“I’m very disappointed, after all the hard work that has been put in over the past few months,” Botha said.

“But it’s not about me, it’s about the team now and there’s still a big job to do.

“I’ll be sitting at home with my family on Sunday with a tear on my cheek as the team takes on the Wallabies.

“We can’t stop here. There are still three games left to play.”

Botha (32) said he would see a specialist on his return to SA in order to determine what course of action was required so he could be ready to take up a three-year contract with French club Toulon on November 1.

The veteran of 76 Tests said he was determined to represent the Springboks again next season.
“This is definitely not the end of my Test career as far as I am concerned,” he said.

“I’ll be aiming to give 100% to Toulon to help them get into the Heineken Cup and I’ll still be available for South Africa next year.

“I still have the desire to play for my country and that will be there for as long as I play.

“It’s a special thing to pull on this jersey and that hunger has not left me.”

Botha made his Test debut against France in 2002 and was competing at his third Rugby World Cup.

He played in the Pool D wins over Fiji and Namibia in New Zealand, but Achilles and hamstring injuries kept him out of the matches against Wales and Samoa.

After insisting earlier in the week he was ready to play against the Wallabies, he picked up another Achilles injury on the opposite ankle while training yesterday.

“I knew I wasn’t going to be 100%, and with great players like Victor Matfield, Danie Rossouw and Johann Muller all fit, there was no need for me to hang around and be a distraction to the team.”

Meanwhile, winger JP Pietersen successfully completed a fitness test on his injured knee during today’s training run and was declared fit to take his place on the right wing.

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