Belfast Telegraph

Friday 19 December 2014

Botha ready for tough Scotland test

Bakkies Botha is not underestimating Scotland
Bakkies Botha is not underestimating Scotland

South Africa lock Bakkies Botha is braced for a tough return to international rugby against a "phenomenal" Scotland team at Murrayfield.

Botha will win his 77th cap on Sunday after more than two years out of the Springbok team and he talked up his opponents ahead of the game.

Both sides are looking to build on opening wins in their November series, with Scotland beating Japan 42-17 last week while Heyneke Meyer's team beat Wales 24-15.

Toulon lock Botha, who lists his favourite film as Braveheart on his South Africa Rugby profile, said: "The Scottish team ended third in the Six Nations last year and they are a phenomenal side.

"Now recently a lot of Scottish players are playing in the French league as well, especially in the lock position like Richie Gray, so that makes them a good side as well.

"They showed against the Japanese side that they are a team that plays for 85 minutes."

Botha, who lost at Murrayfield in 2010, added: "I remember the Test match when I was last involved with the Springboks, the Scottish are very physical at the breakdowns and definitely, when their tails are up, it's a difficult side to keep with on the day.

"We are focusing on what we can improve as a team, taking all the positives out of Wales and working hard on the negatives. It doesn't matter which Test match it is, it's always a tough one and it's not going to be any easier this weekend playing against the Scottish team."

Botha's international career looked to be over but the 34-year-old always retained hope of adding further chapters to his illustrious Springboks career.

The World Cup winner said: "I'm more happy about it than surprised. The day when I left for France two years ago I always said to myself every morning when I get up and go to the gym in Toulon, I still want to play in the green and gold.

"The opportunity came around and I was very happy when Heyneke phoned me. I am just taking it week to week and I'm very happy to be part of this amazing squad after two years."

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