Springbok lock Bakkies Botha shared on Wednesday why so many South Africans prefer to continue their careers in Toulon in France.
Botha, capped 76 times for his country and back in the Bok set-up for the first time since the Rugby World Cup in 2011, has taken a little bit of South Africa with him to the south of France, where he makes his own boerewors.
“When I first moved to Toulon, I think Joe van Niekerk was the only South African there, but we’ve since been joined by a lot of others,” said Botha.
“I don’t know if it’s my boerewors or the Euro that is luring the guys to Toulon, but it’s great to have them there. I get a lot of requests for boerewors from the guys, when they are keen for a braai, and I’m always happy to help.
“Even Matt Gitaeu from Australia phones from time to time to order some ‘boerie’ and then I just tell him to come by and pick up a packet.
“It’s always nice to have a lekker BBQ with the guys and especially to show the English and Aussie players how to do it properly.”
On a more serious note, Botha said he really enjoyed mentoring the Boks’ two young locks, Eben Etzebeth and Pieter-Steph du Toit, both of whom he rates as superb players.
“They are two big players coming through. I take it week for week and try and help the youngsters as much as possible – it’s a role I want to play now and one I enjoy,” said Botha.
“I don’t have another four to five years in me and the body is getting older, but it’s a huge privilege to help these guys. It’s also good to see Flip (van der Merwe) slotting in at No 5 lock and amazing to see how he’s grown – he also has a lot of experience.
“At this stage, it’s just amazing to be part of the Springbok set-up and to be able to make a difference wherever I go.”