Tri Nations
Botha vows not to change
July 31, 2009
South Africa's Bakkies Botha on the charge, South Africa v British & Irish Lions, Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria, South Africa, June 27, 2009
Bakkies Botha won't be mending his ways ahead of Saturday's clash with New Zealand © Getty Images

Bakkies Botha says he won't be changing his abrasive style after being controversially banned for a dangerous charge against the British & Irish Lions.

The Springbok lock was suspended for two weeks after his hit on Adam Jones in the second Test was picked up by the citing commissioner, resulting in his missing out on the final Test defeat. The suspension sparked a protest from Botha's teammates and coaches who wore armbands labelled "Justice 4 Bakkies" during the Johannesburg Test.

Botha returned to star in last Saturday's 28-19 win over New Zealand at Bloemfontein and the Bulls tyro is unrepentant about his ban and says his rucking style will not change despite his suspension.

"I know there's different opinions about the whole situation," he said. "I'm not going to do anything different from any other game. I'm just going to go out and do my job 100 percent with the gift that god gave me.

"If you look at the cleanouts all over the world, everybody's similar, especially for the enforcer type of role like the Brad Thorns and the (Nathan) Sharpes have. I've put it all behind me and I'm just happy to be on the field again and playing the game I've loved for my entire life."

Botha insists he will continue to do what he does best in tandem with his partner in crime, Victor Matfield with whom he has played 48 times in a Springbok shirt. And he says he thrives on the enforcer reputation he carries into every Test match.

"I'm loving carrying that label" he said. "It's like Victor Matfield carrying the lineout label, that's why we're such a formidable combination. It's what I've done for the last nine years. I'm not going to change and look for grubbers and kicks through the backline and chase them, that's not my job, okay. I'm just going to hit the rucks and do it 100 %. That's the game I love."

Meanwhile, New Zealand captain Richie McCaw knows his side have to improve if they want to prevent Botha and Matfield disrupting their lineout, after the area gave them trouble in Bloemfontein. And the Crusaders open side says the All Blacks need to be have more confidence if they want to prevent Matfield getting his hands on their ball.

"We allowed him to be good by playing into his hands a little bit," McCaw said. "He got the first one and then we were reluctant to go back to what we were doing. It's the old story, you lose a couple and everyone gets a bit twitchy.

"We need to be good enough that when one doesn't go good enough, to back the plans you had or perhaps change. Perhaps it was a fault of mine last week, that we didn't address what we were getting wrong. That's the frustrating thing from last week, that we allowed it to get on top of us. We put ourselves under a bit of pressure but we certainly can't panic."


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