Why Bakkies is not built for modern rugby
INTERVIEW: World-class referee JP Doyle believes Springbok legend Bakkies Botha may have struggled to excel in today’s rugby world.
John Philip ‘Bakkies’ Botha certainly needs no introduction.
The Springbok legend’s presence on the park instilled fear in the heart of the opposition, including All Blacks.
Known as “The Enforcer”, Botha’s illustrious career includes a 2007 World Cup triumph and two Tri-Nations titles (2004 and 2009) with Springboks.
Before joining Toulon in 2011, he was part of the Bulls’ Super Rugby side that won three Super Rugby titles (2007, 2009 and 2010)
Despite his numerous accolades, it’s his brutal tackles and no-nonsense attitude that made him the household name.
His list of ‘victims’ include the likes of Adam Jones, Brendan Cannon, Gio Aplon and Jimmy Cowan.
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However, according to top referee Doyle, it’s exactly that brutality and physicality which could have been his downfall in the modern-day era.
In an interview with RugbyPass’ Jim Hamilton, Doyle explained that the roles of locks have changed so much in the last ten years, that an enforcer like Botha would have found himself out of place.
“Second rows need to be much much better in the line-out than they ever were and players like Paul O’Connell drew this on to a huge level.
“They need to be able to be distributors, be carriers, be ruckers, be cleaners and for Maro Itoje is the standout example of what a modern second row needs to be.”
Doyle added: “The rugby players that made it in 2010 would still be as good now, but you would be just training slightly different.
“The class players from 5-6 years ago like Victor Matfield wouldn’t struggle now because they’d still be class and there would even still be a place for Bakkies [Botha], but he just wouldn’t be able to do some of the other stuff like roughing people up.”