In a new twist to the Bakkies Botha saga, the Springbok lock forward is said to have decided against reporting at his ‘new club’ in France last Friday.
According to Toulon’s website, Botha will be introduced to the club members on Tuesday.
Morris Gilbert writes in Beeld that a South African source in France confirmed on Sunday that flight bookings had been made and that Botha would have arrived in Toulon last Friday. However, the bookings were cancelled at the last minute.
Two French players’ agents who attended the Super 14 match between the Sharks and the Stormers at the weekend, insisted that they had been reliably informed that Botha had attended a club match in France as a guest of Toulon’s chairperson, Mourad Boudjellal.
Botha could defuse rumours
A source in Toulon had a different story, saying Botha had not been seen at the match.
The source said: “I cannot say under oath he was not here because the stadium was packed. But if he were, Boudjellal would have made a song and dance of it and everyone with ears and eyes would have known about it,” he said.
Botha could have defused the rumours emanating from Toulon but he has remained silent about his plans.
Piet Heymans, chief executive of the SA Rugby Players Association, says rich French clubs are known for making wild statements to increase pressure in certain circles.
There seems to be a checkmate situation between the Blue Bulls Company and the Botha camp but the next decisive move could come from the SA Rugby Union.
Christo Ferreira, Saru’s manager of legal affairs, confirmed on Sunday that he had received a letter from the Blue Bulls in which the problem was explained.
SA Rugby, who employ Botha in the same way as the Blue Bulls do, may report Toulon to the International Rugby Board this week for what is seen as unethical games.
Potential red-card infringements
Barend van Graan, chief executive of the Blue Bulls Company, was unwilling to comment on this possibility on Sunday.
He reiterated that Botha was employed by the company and therefore had to play for the Bulls.
The uncertainty about Botha’s future is not the only problem Bulls coach Frans Ludeke has to solve this week.
Two Bulls players, Dewald Potgieter and JP Nel, have been cited for potential red-card infringements during the match against the Crusaders at the weekend.
The two have to appear before a disciplinary committee on Monday evening. Ludeke will therefore have to wait until Tuesday before he can start thinking about his team to play the Sharks in Pretoria on Saturday.Tweet