Bakkies’ return imminent

The rehabilitation of Springbok lock Bakkies Botha is going better than expected and he may even be available for the second Test against Scotland.

The towering No 4 lock can’t wait to get back on the park in the green and gold after watching his understudies struggle a little in the opening match of the international season at Ellis Park last weekend.

Botha injured a muscle next to his Achilles tendon in the Bulls semi-final loss to the Crusaders in Christchurch and was originally expected to miss all the Vodacom Incoming Tests in June.

Now it seems he has a 50/50 chance to be back to bolster the Bok pack for a match that no matter what happens in Durban will amount to a must win.

“I’m 50% for Scotland in PE, but I will definitely be ready for the France Test in Cape Town,” Botha told keo.co.za. “I’m flying to PE on Sunday to join the guys and I will train with them and we will re-assess it then.”

The giant second-rower is a vital cog – along with provincial team-mate Victor Matfield – in the Bok machine if they hope to keep up the good work of recent seasons.

Botha and Matfield’s presence was sorely missed against the World XV and the sooner they return to the fray the better. “The rehab has gone very well and I’ve been running and cycling and using elastic bands to stretch,” he said.

“I’m just thankful it wasn’t the tendon because they take so much longer to heal.” The 31-Test veteran and acknowledged hardman of the Springbok team adds a dimension to the Bok play that no other player in South Africa is capable of.

By Andrew Hollely