Super Rugby

Bulls loosie loses contract in Ireland

Arno Botha (Gallo Images)
Arno Botha (Gallo Images)

Cape Town - Irish club Ulster have reportedly revoked the contract of Bulls and Springbok loose forward Arno Botha.

Ulster announced the signing of Botha in January this year and the player was set to leave the Bulls after the conclusion of this year’s Super Rugby competition.

However, according to Netwerk24, Ulster have made an about turn as the injury-plagued Botha spends more time on the sidelines.

Botha, 25, sustained a knee injury in New Zealand last month, and is set to return to action for the Blue Bulls in the SuperSport Rugby Challenge this weekend, but the Irish club has reportedly decided it is too much of a risk to sign the player.

According to the Afrikaans website, Ulster obtained an independent medical opinion, which said Botha should give the knee a proper rest. The club then decided to cancel the contract which includes a clause that the player must be medically fit.

Botha's career has been blighted by injury setbacks. He tore knee ligaments during his second (and last) Test appearance in 2013 which ruled him out for the rest of the season, and injured the same knee at the start of 2014.

In 2015, he suffered a pectoral muscle injury, and at the end of last season he dislocated a shoulder that required surgery.

Ulster were initially excited at the prospect of Botha joining them, with director of rugby Les Kiss saying after signing him in January:

"Arno was tipped to be a future Springboks captain from a young age but his career was somewhat curtailed by injuries after he made his international debut in 2013. Those injuries are behind him now and he has regained his best form over the past 12 months.

"His leadership and abrasiveness will be key attributes for us over the next couple of seasons. He is very aggressive in attack and his ability to get over the gain-line will be especially good for us. Arno is also strong in defence, he's a nuisance at the breakdown and he's a good lineout option, so he has a very well-rounded game.

"He is an ambitious young man and he is determined to make an impact with us. He is a serious competitor who is willing to work hard to earn his jersey. I believe he will settle well in our environment and become a huge fan favourite here at Kingspan Stadium.”

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