Ball relishing Botha challenge

Date published: October 17 2014

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Scarlets second-row Jake Ball is relishing the prospect of facing Toulon’s Bakkies Botha in Saturday’s Champions Cup match.

Scarlets second-row Jake Ball is relishing the prospect of facing Toulon’s Bakkies Botha in Saturday’s European Champions Cup match at the Stade Mayol.

Botha is renowned as one of the most feared players in the game and although Ball admits that the Springbok lock is one of his boyhood heroes, he is determined to lay down his marker when he goes head-to-head with the 83-Test veteran and former World Cup winner.

“Toulon have a lot of big names and you are playing against some of the guys you used to watch when you were younger,” Ball told Walesonline.

“But they are still flesh and blood and only human.

“Growing up I used to watch Bakkies and enjoyed the way he played.

“He is an aggressive style lock and it will be great to play against someone like that.

“I would not say I modelled myself on him but there are some aspects of his game he does well and I admire.”

A fine performance against Botha can only enhance Ball’s chance’s of making Wales’ squad for the November internationals.

“I have to perform well every week to get my spot and I’m taking nothing for granted,” added Ball.

“I am well aware Wales coaches are looking at every match we play in.

“They will be paying close attention to this game because it’s as close to a Test match as you can get. So standing out in this game is important.”

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