SA prop to become eligible for Wales ahead of World Cup
SPOTLIGHT: Wales’ scrum could be strengthened significantly for this year’s World Cup in France.
According to reports coming out of Wales, Ospreys’ South African prop Tom Botha has emerged as a strong contender to be included in Warren Gatland’s squad later this year.
Botha, 32, has been with Ospreys since 2018 and he has previously represented Western Province, Southern Kings and the Cheetahs.
After serving a three-year residency, Botha could have represented Wales in 2021 but was not selected.
He then had to wait until this year after World Rugby adopted a new five-year residency period. He is set to be eligible again later this year ahead of the World Cup.
“You’ve seen in recent performances how important scrums are,” said Ospreys head coach Toby Booth.
“Tommy is without doubt a specialist scrummager, so it depends on what you are looking for from the No. 3 shirt. Against certain opposition, you require more of that or less of that.
“His progress can be seen from the fact that we have a legitimate rotation policy around props. That’s not because we think it’s a nice thing to do or to keep everyone happy. You have to be good enough to be in that rotation.
“Tommy Botha is starting games where he’s always been seen as the back-up guy.
“That says enough to me that if called upon he’ll give it his best and be ready, because, ultimately, he’s delivering on his part of the jigsaw.
“From that point of view, why not?”