Bulls get a Bok back from abroad
TRANSFER NEWS: On a day that their Trans-Jukskei neighbours announced the departure of several key players, the Bulls continued their trend of luring players back from abroad.
The Bulls confirmed on Friday that Springbok Arno Botha will return to Loftus Versfeld, after a three-year stint in Europe.
The 29-year-old loose forward is set to join the team in July, if travel restrictions allow.
This revelation follows in the wake of the mass exodus at their neighbours 50-odd kilometres down the N1.
The Lions lost the services of World Cup-winning Springbok Malcolm Marx, along with Ruan Vermaak, Tyrone Green, Shaun Reynolds and assistant coach Neil de Bruin.
The announcement of Botha’s return to Pretoria comes in the wake of confirmation that Gio Aplon will also soon arrive at Loftus Versfeld.
Botha, who captained the Junior Springboks in 2011, was named SA Rugby Under-20 Player of the Year.
he made his first-class debut in the colours of the Blue Bulls junior teams before making his Currie Cup debut in 2011.
His performances in South Africa’s premier domestic competition saw him earning a call up to the Bulls where he produced glimpses of his devastating potential.
His rise within South African rugby continued as he made his Springbok debut in 2013, before a serious knee injury curtailed his international career.
He also represented South Africa A against the English Saxons in 2016.
A short stint with London Irish in 2017 lined up his move to Munster in 2018, where he represented the Irish province with his explosive, barnstorming runs allowing him to become a regular fixture in the starting team.
Botha has proven himself to be a formidable opponent and worth his weight in gold on the field and his return to Loftus Versfeld will boost the loose forward stock.
(Continue reading below … )
“Arno has been a great addition to the Munster squad and will be missed,” Munster coach Johann van Graan said.
“I’ve no doubt the #Bulls are delighted to see him return to his home province as he is a quality signing.
“We wish Arno all the best for the future and thank him for his time in red.”
Jake White, Director of Rugby at the Blue Bulls Company, is excited to have Botha back home.
“Arno is a proud son of Loftus, and there is no doubt that the fans will be ecstatic to see him back,” White said.
“He started his rugby journey here and played all of his junior rugby in blue. There were big things expected from him from a young age, and he has now grown into a complete and well-balanced loosie. It’s no secret that we are in the process of building something very special at Loftus, and Arno is going to be a huge part of that.”
Botha is looking forward to his return.
“As one door closes another one opens, and with this in mind I just want to thank the Bulls for the opportunity to be part of the Bulls again, especially in this time.
“The Bulls have always and will always be a special part of my life and I’m looking forward to being back at Loftus. Is awesome to be heading home.”
* Also read …