Stern Bulls competition hardly a new challenge for Arno Botha

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Arno Botha is looking forward to the competition for place at the Bulls
Arno Botha is looking forward to the competition for place at the Bulls
Lee Warren
  • Arno Botha is one of the Bulls eye-catching signings but he's well aware that we walks into a setup oozing class at loose forward.
  • The 28-year-old is hardly unfamiliar with strong competition, having had four Irish internationals as teammates at Munster.
  • He believes the Bulls' group of loosies are mature enough to realise their personal ambitions by working together.

He might be considered one of the Bulls' marquee signings under Jake White but Arno Botha has come into a setup brimming with top class talent at loose forward.

The 28-year-old, who returns to Loftus after departing in mid-2017, will battle it out with Springboks Duane Vermeulen, Nizaam Carr, Marco van Staden as well as Junior Springbok star Muller Uys.

It's not a situation that's remotely unfamiliar to him given the stern competition he was exposed to at Irish club Munster, who boast internationals CJ Stander, Peter O'Mahoney, Tommy O'Donnell and Jack O'Donoghue on their books.

"We have a great dynamic at the Bulls," Botha told Sport24.

"I like that type of competition. It was pretty much my life as a player in Ireland too. The key is how one responds to this challenge."

White has indeed placed a premium on proven class with regards to his group of loose forwards and with an established pedigree comes maturity too.

"To me it's about us focusing on what we can do to improve the team and each other. The four of us are really at a stage of our careers where we really can incite and help each other to get the best out of us," said Botha.

"It's really not about being selfish anymore, just focusing on yourself. We obviously still have formulate some of our plans but I think we all have the common sense to realise that all of us are versatile. We can all cover more than one position. 

"I can help Nizaam become more comfortable at blindside flank. He can help Marco on the openside. Duane can help me with eighthman."

That process of continually refining a wider skillset is exactly the type of stimulation the quartet needs, he believes.

"It's hard work but it's enjoyable," said Botha.

"You don't want to get behind. You want to stay ahead. You even have to look out for the youngsters. I was 20 once too, I know how motivated I was to topple the more experienced players.

"In the end though, it's about the common goal. It's about us all striving for the same ethic. If I know a teammate's heart and drive is in the right place on the field, then I don't need to know him extensively on a personal level to know that I can perform effectively with him. We both know we'll give it all for each other during a match." 

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