Bakkies Botha

South Africa’s Bakkies Botha. Photo: AFP

I liked to see fear in the eyes of my opponents – Bakkies Botha

Springbok legend Bakkies Botha agrees that he might have been born to hurt people

Bakkies Botha

South Africa’s Bakkies Botha. Photo: AFP

Former Springbok Bakkies Botha makes up one half of arguably the best locking pair of the modern era, but it is fair to say he has something of a reputation as a hard man. 

In a recent interview, Botha conceded that he really enjoyed it when the going got tough.

Bakkies Botha relished playing in France

Botha told French publication Midi Olympique that he enjoyed the brutality of French club rugby. The Bok number four is highly respected in France, having turned out for Toulon between 2011 and 2015.

When asked what he thought of French Rugby, Botha said: “French rugby, I love it!

“It is the most brutal rugby I have ever played.”

Most violent players in history

“Last week, a friend sent me an article in a Welsh newspaper: the journalist (Graham Price) classified from 1 to 10 the most violent players in history. I was ninth!

“In front of me, there was only Jerry Collins and French forwards from the 80s. They wore moustaches, big headbands around their ears.They always had their eyes closed by a swollen black eye. They couldn’t see anything.

“I would have dreamed of playing in the French championship of the 80s! It was terrible. If you took a hit, you had to give it back. Today, things have changed. We leave the field for a black eye.”

Botha said that while player safety is important, he always relished a bit of rough stuff.

“Player safety is obviously a priority,” he said when asked if rugby had gone soft.

“But hey, me at the time when I played, I liked when the context hardened. I liked it when the fight got wilder.

“The other day, during a charity dinner, a former Springbok coach told me that I was born to hurt others.”

Bakkies Botha born to hurt others

Botha conceded that there was some truth to the statement that he was born to hurt others.

“It’s true, on the field, I liked to see fear in the eyes of my opponents,” Botha said.

The former Springbok enforcer was without a doubt a player who instilled genuine fear in the opposition, making him well-respected in South Africa if often maligned elsewhere.

Despite multiple suspensions from the game Botha racked up 85 Tests for the Springboks, and was part of the 2007 Rugby World Cup-winning squad. Botha was part of all three of the Bulls Super Rugby titles and also won the European Rugby Champions Cup.

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