Botha not at Harlequins for the money

South Africa and Bulls Hookers Gary Botha insists that his stay in England is not solely for the huge amount of money that he is being paid but also because he wants to develop his game.

“I have signed for at least three seasons and I am happy with my deal. Yes, the money is a bit more over here but so are the expenses.


When you live in the country of pounds, you are spending in pounds. People back home forget that. There are no bargains here.” he told the Sunday Independent.

Botha could have signed a six month deal and tested the water a bit like his Bulls team mate Victor Matfield has done but instead Botha says that one of the reasons that he wanted a longer contract was for his family.

“When the offer came up, I asked myself what drove me, what motivated me. The answer was my family. We have a daughter (18 month old Alana) with a second baby on the way.

“Sometimes you have to take a step back as a professional sportsman and ask, what is sure to make you perform and progress. The place I am at now, I have come round to that. It gives me tremendous drive.

“That is why we opted for a long contract. For me, it wasn’t any use taking up a 6-month contract or a year. We had to give it a good go, the whole experience.


Otherwise we will never know what it could have been like. And I never wanted to look back and think, I should have taken that opportunity. I never wanted to be in that position.”

Like most of the other Northern Hemisphere rugby tourists who have recently moved hemisphere Botha has instantly noticed that the game of rugby is very different from that of the Southern Hemisphere.

“The intensity is higher in a shorter time span. It’s definitely a different style and the contact is more intense. You have got to be able to adapt to all that. So many outside factors also play a role. But that is the big challenge for me.

“That is one reason why I decided to come to the northern hemisphere. I just think there is a different dimension towards the rugby they play here.”

Botha also spoke of his disappointment about the world cup where he felt he was the form hooker and that he should have been given more time.

“If I was selfish I would have moaned about the World Cup. Everyone in the group wants to play in quarters, semi-finals and the final. No-one wants to sit in the stand. I would have liked to have played more and I think I should have done.

“I’d had a good Super 14 and I think I was the in-form hooker. But John was a good captain and a good player. And at the end of the day, we won the World Cup and my allegiance was to the Springboks and South Africa.

“I was part of something amazing and no-one can take that away from you at all. Just being there and picking up the whole vibe was awesome.”

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