BJ waits on Jake’s call

Having returned from his honeymoon with his new bride Karen, injured Sharks prop BJ Botha has been experiencing a lot of mixed emotions lately.

“Obviously the day I got married was the best day of my life,” Botha told keo.co.za, “but I am also disappointed to miss out on my opportunity to play for the Springboks.”

The powerfully-built Botha was one of the reasons the Sharks scrum excelled in the Super 14, and he deservedly earned a call-up to train with the Boks ahead of the Tests against Scotland and France.

However, an almost certain Test debut, against Scotland at his home ground, was put on hold when a niggling neck injury ruled him out of contention. He has since undergone surgery.

“It’s been three weeks since I had my operation, and I now have six weeks of rehabilitation ahead of me. I am back in the gym and I have been doing some running, so it’s a start,” he said.

A specialist found that Botha had a build-up of cartilage on one of his neck vertebrae and this was pressing against a nerve, which of course caused him plenty of pain. He is expected to fully recover within the next two months at which time he will presumably go back to the Currie Cup to regain fitness. But his future, as a Shark or a Springbok, for 2006 also remains uncertain.

“I actually have not been in touch with the Springbok management since i got injured,” he stated. “We will just have to see what happens. I am not sure whether I will go straight back into Currie Cup rugby or not, I have not heard the plans from the Springbok camp. All I can do is get myself fit and available for selection.”

By Jon Cardinelli