British & Irish Lions

Bakkies Botha's 'sexy blue eyes' sledge left Lions scrumhalf speechless

Mike Phillips in the second Test between South Africa and the Lions at Loftus Versfeld on 27 June 2009 (Photo: Stu Forster/Getty Images)
Mike Phillips in the second Test between South Africa and the Lions at Loftus Versfeld on 27 June 2009 (Photo: Stu Forster/Getty Images)
Stu Forster
  • Former Wales and British & Irish Lions scrumhalf Mike Phillips has recalled a comical incident involving Springbok lock Bakkies Botha.
  • It was during the Lions' 2009 tour of South Africa when Botha's last-gasp tackle prevented Phillips from scoring a try.
  • The Welshman responded with a "steroids" sledge but Botha's "you have sexy blue eyes" response left him speechless.

Former Wales and British & Irish Lions scrumhalf Mike Phillips has recalled a sledge from Springbok lock Bakkies Botha that left him speechless.

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The incident occurred during the Lions' tour of South Africa in 2009 when Botha denied Phillips a try by knocking the ball out of his hands at the last moment.

At 1.91m and 105kg, Phillips was one of the biggest scrumhalves to ever play Test rugby and said in an interview with the Wales Online website that he was intent of standing up to the imposing Botha, who stood 2.02m and 124kg.

"I'm gutted now and I look up and he's standing there smiling at me with all his mates, who were all about 7ft tall," recalled Phillips."I'm thinking I can't let him just smile at me, so I made some comment about them all being on steroids.

"At this point, I'm expecting a punch in the face or at least a push of some sort. But, in his thick accent, he’s come back with: 'Oh, you have sexy blue eyes'. I was so confused. Fair play to him, I didn't have any comeback for that."

The Welshman was left stunned for words by Botha's response and the Lions went on to lose the series 2-1.

Phillips, 37, played 94 Tests for Wales and five for the Lions between 2003 and 2015.

The Lions will again tour South Africa next year and are slated to play eight matches. The first Test is scheduled for FNB Stadium on 24 July 2021, the second for Cape Town Stadium (31 July) and the third for Ellis Park (7 August).

- Compiled by Sport24 staff

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