Bakkies to put Boks to the test

Date published: July 7 2015

Bakkies Botha believes he'll still be contributing to the Springboks' cause, even though he'll be playing against them on Saturday.

Test veteran Botha announced his retirement from international rugby in November last year, despite Bok coach Heyneke Meyer's best efforts to keep him in the mix for the World Cup later this year. 

Botha will headline the World XV team that will face the Boks at Newlands and the 85-cap lock feels he can still help South Africa by testing their structures with the physicality only he can bring.

"We just want to go onto the pitch and ask a lot of questions on attack and defence because that's the only the way the Springboks can truly prepare for the World Cup," said Botha on Tuesday.

The Toulon lock will be joined by a number of his team-mates from the triple European Cup-winning French club and although they have only pride to play for, Botha promised the Boks would face a stern examination.

"We just want to go out and play the game to the best of our abilities and hopefully the Boks can improve on aspects of their game before the World Cup," said the former Bulls stalwart.

Botha added that Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer is still not sure about his combinations but he believes the Bok mentor will gain insights into his players through actual game time against quality opposition.

"I think Heyneke is not a 100 percent but 99 percent sure which players he wants to use where," explained the 36-year-old World Cup winner.

"The only way his going to be sure is with game time. There's a difference between training in the week and playing the actual game at the weekend.'

Botha is still in prime physical form, but explained the reasons behind his decision to hang up his boots.

"For me as a player the aggression has faded with age and it has become a lot of effort for me to keep up with the game, and that was a big reason for my decision to retire," said Botha.

"There was speculation that I need to keep the door open for the World Cup. There were a lot of people who said that I have another World Cup in me.

"But I think I called it a day because I wanted to go out on my terms. Not a lot of international players can say that.  

"I know that my last game was when I came off the bench against England at Twickenham and I think that peace of mind, that inner peace in me, was the main reason I set a date to retire."