Springbok discard BJ Botha is set to launch a new chapter in his career this coming week, when arrives in Belfast for the start of his three-year stint with Ulster – which could see him make his Magners League debut for the Irish province against the Llanelli Scarlets on Friday.
The 17-times capped Springbok, discarded by new Bok coach Peter de Villiers after he was a member of South Africa’s World Cup-winning team last year, is set to get a taste of the famous Ravenhill roar as an introduction to the European scene.
Rugby 365 reports that Botha, who was in Ulster three weeks ago to sign the three-year contract with the Irish outfit, was given an early release from his Sharks contract.
His wife is expecting their first child later this year and it was thought prudent that they came to Ulster now in case they could not fly due to the advancing pregnancy.
The hard-rugged tight-head is just the man that Ulster coach Matt Williams was searching for to beef up his scrum.
“BJ is a world class player and is one of the best tight-head props in the game,” Williams told BBC.
“He was part of the South African squad that won the World Cup and is used to being part of a winning team,” said Williams who will announce his squad on Tuesday.
“BJ will bring with him, the culture of excellence and winning, a mindset I hope he can pass onto our younger players.”
I can’t wait to join the rest of the squad and get stuck into some serious training for the new season
Botha himself said he cannot wait to start his new life in Belfast.
“I feel that the move to Ulster will be a great opportunity for both me and my family,” said Botha. “I’m really looking forward to playing in Europe.
“It’s great to be involved in with such a vivid following as Ulster,” he said. “The move is a great opportunity to see Ireland and the United Kingdom.
“But I want to experience the famous Northern Ireland culture first hand and I’m sure we’ll end up venturing across to mainland Europe for holidays which we are all excited about.”Tweet