Aviva Premiership
Botha to swap Saracens for Sharks
ESPN Staff
December 5, 2014
Botha will swap Barnet for Durban in the New Year © Getty Images

England international Mouritz Botha will leave Saracens to join Super Rugby franchise Sharks in the new year.

Saracens said they had "reluctantly released" 32-year-old Botha, who will join the Durban-based Sharks on January 1, ahead of the new season.

"Mouritz has been a massive part of our squad and our culture for the past five-and-a-half seasons, and we are very sorry to see him leave," Saracens rugby director Mark McCall said. "However, this is a great opportunity to play for one of the top teams in Super Rugby, and we wish him well."

South Africa-born Botha joined Saracens from Bedford in 2009, and has has made 142 first team appearances to date. Having qualified for England on residency, he made his Test debut as a replacement against 2011 World Cup warm-up opponents Wales at Twickenham before going on to start every game of England's 2012 RBS 6 Nations campaign. He won 10 caps, the last of which was against South Africa in November 2012.

"Saracens will always be important to me, and it's difficult to leave so many friends in what remains a unique sporting environment," said Botha. "But the Sharks are trying to build something special in Durban. This will be a great rugby challenge for me, and a great adventure for my young family."

Sharks chief executive described Botha as "a great acquisition " whose "experience gained at international level will be hugely beneficial to our squad".

"He will add significant value and depth to our tight five. We look forward to welcoming him to Durban."

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd

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