Full name John Philip Botha
Born September 22, 1979, Newcastle, Natal
Current age 35 years 346 days
Major teams Barbarians, Blue Bulls, Bulls, South Africa A, Toulon, South Africa
Height 6 ft 7 in
Weight 264 lb
|IRB Rugby World Cup||2003-2011||14||13||1||15||3||0||0||0||12||2||0||85.71|
|The Rugby Championship||2003-2014||29||25||4||0||0||0||0||0||18||11||0||62.06|
|Test debut||France v South Africa at Marseille, Nov 9, 2002 match details|
|Last Test||England v South Africa at Twickenham, Nov 15, 2014 match details|
|Test Statsguru||Main menu | Career summary | Match list | Most points | Most tries | Tournament list|
Toulon's Bakkies Botha is a giant of South African rugby and boasts a rugby CV that includes Rugby World Cup, Tri-Nations, Super Rugby and Currie Cup success.
A second-row enforcer, Botha made his senior bow against France in 2002 and went on to cement his place in the Springboks' ranks and form what was arguably the strongest second row partnership in world rugby alongside Victor Matfield.
By the end of 2008 they had appeared alongside each other an incredible 46 times with Botha quoted as saying, "Sometimes I feel we know each other better than we know our wives." Sometime overshadowed by his second row partner, Botha more than held his own in the lineout, and in the loose, and was seen as South Africa's enforcer.
He was part of South Africa's squad for the 2003 Rugby World Cup, scoring three tries, and would later help propel the Boks to only their second Tri-Nations crown. By that stage the indiscipline problems that had plagued the early part of his career appeared to have been banished under the influence of coach Jake White.
His second Rugby World Cup appearance followed in 2007 where he played a pivotal role in the Springboks' charge to the sport's biggest crown. He reached the 50-cap milestone in the historic victory over New Zealand in Dunedin in 2008 but was later ruled out of the rest of the Tri-Nations. But he returned for the Springboks undefeated end of year tour of the UK and featured in all three victories against Wales, Scotland and the record-win against England.
On the domestic stage, Botha was also a member of the Bulls side that clinched the Super Rugby crown in 2007 with a dramatic victory over South African rivals the Sharks, a feat that he repeated in 2009 before playing the first two Tests in the Springboks' series victory over the Lions. But he was banned for two weeks following the second Test, for an illegal shoulder charge on Lions prop Adam Jones. He was struck down by an Achilles heel injury at the end of 2009 that sidelined him for much of the following year's Super Rugby. He returned to Bulls colours in May but a four-week suspension for a dangerous tackle on Stormers winger Gio Aplon meant he missed their final triumph. And he was in hot water again later in the year after head-butting New Zealand scrum-half Jimmy Cowan during their Tri-Nations clash in Auckland. Botha was suspended for nine weeks - ruling him out of the remainder of the competition.
In March 2011 Botha announced he would join Top 14 Orange side Toulon on a three-year deal after the World Cup and speaking at his unveiling in July 2011, he spoke of his desire to end his career with the French side.
Before he linked up with his new side, Botha played in the 2011 World Cup for the Boks but his time with the international side was cut short after he sustained an injury against Namibia in the pool stages in what was his 87th appearance for the Springboks. The injury delayed his debut for Toulon but following a solid season in the Top 14, Botha was back in the Boks reckoning with new boss Heyneke Meyer having to cope with an injury crisis in their second-row.