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VIDEO: Bakkies Botha v Matt Stevens - When a Bok sees red

SPOTLIGHT: South African rugby players are known for their brute strength, and when it comes to legendary Springbok Bakkies Botha that is nothing short of a fact.


The name – Bakkies Botha –  still strikes fear in the hearts of his peers, even years after his retirement.

Botha dominated opposition hard men the world over in a lengthy career.

Career highlights for the giant lock include three Super Rugby titles, three Champions Cups, a Top 14 title, two Tri-Nations (now Rugby Championship) titles and a World Cup.

In the latest episode of Boks Office, host Hanyani Shimange and Springbok legend Jean de Villiers sat down with former England prop Matt Stevens, who gave his account of the brutality of facing the Springbok hardman.

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Born in South Africa, Stevens was selected to play for England.

He faced the Springboks in 2007 and got first-hand experience of Botha’s grunt, where South Africa dismantled England in a 55-22 victory.

Stevens’ decision to play for England left a peculiar disdain for Botha, who made the Durban-born prop feel every moment.

“Everyone has got a version of the story, it’s John Smit’s [2007 World Cup winning Springbok captain] favourite go-to,” Stevens said when asked about the encounter with Botha.


“The man [Botha] has hands the size of dinner plates and it has the power of a ten-tonne truck behind it.

“So it really knocks you.”

He added: “Everyone talks about Bakkies and how wonderful he is, but to be the guy on the other side is not that nice.

“Just from a different perspective Bakkies had the opportunity to take out his aggression on me scrum after scrum the first time I played in South Africa, and he is lauded for it and he is a hero.

“But on the other side of it, I had to go scrum after scrum and take a punch in the face while I could not move.”

Stevens joked and said after facing Botha he decided to take up Jujutsu (Japanese martial arts) because he needed to protect himself.

“It was one of those things, which helps you take on the bigger guys and Bakkies was a big part of it.”

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