Springbok and Toulon lock, Bakkies Botha, has announced that he will hang up his boots at the end of the 2015 Rugby World Cup.

Botha has been capped 79 times by South Africa, and for the best part of a decade for both the Bulls and the Springboks, he formed part of one of the most formidable second-row partnerships in the history of the sport, alongside the colossal Victor Matfield.

The 34-year old, known as the: "Enforcer," due to his immense physicality on the pitch, spent 10-years playing for his home province the Bulls before seeking a fresh challenge in the South of France with Toulon.


During his time with the Bulls alongside Matfield, Brian Habana, Danie Rossouw and a number of other Springboks, the franchise established themselves as one of the best club units in world rugby, winning three Super Rugby titles in four years.

That success was transformed onto the international stage, with the squad powering to, two Tri-Nations titles and the, the 2007 World Cup in France.

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Toulon came calling after the 2011 World Cup in New Zealand, a fresh challenge for the powerhouse of South African rugby.

Toulon president, Mourad Boudjellal, took on a footballing philosophy, deciding to buy in the worlds greatest talent and create his own version of Real Madrid's: "Galacticos." 

Toulon Galacticos

Boudjellal started with players like George Gregan, Sonny Bill Williams and Tana Umaga, however it wasn't long before he built a team that collectively housed the greatest players the sport has to offer in one team.

Botha linked up with greats like Jonny Wilkinson, Matt Giteau and Juan Smith amongst a host of other World Cup winners, in a team that has embarked on a period of unprecedented domination in the northern hemisphere, resulting in two successive European Cups and a Top 14 title, with more silverware expected down the line.

International recall

The hard man of South African rugby has been instrumental in Toulon's success, with Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer convincing the player to come out of international retirement alongside his old partner in crime Victor Matfield.

The pair have been in remarkable form since their return to the international stage and despite the depth of second-row talent in South Africa, the pair are set to make a huge contribution to the South African cause in 2015.

Botha made the announcement this week, telling My Players website: "I do have the offer to extend my current contract, but I've already made up my mind."

"I do have the offer to extend my current contract, but I've already made up my mind," Botha told the My Players website.

"This will be my last season as a Toulon player. That will be the end of Bakkies Botha.

"My career has been given a new challenge in France, which is refreshing. I've had the opportunity to train and learn from world-class players, like Jonny Wilkinson, Matt Giteau and Carl Hayman."

"My career has been given a new challenge in France, which is refreshing. I've had the opportunity to train and learn from world-class players, like Jonny Wilkinson, Matt Giteau and Carl Hayman.

"It's amazing to see their strong work ethic at training. It inspires me to put in hard work.

"Toulon is also a proud rugby city. The players work hard to ensure we bring silverware back to the fans. It's also been great sharing this experience with South African colleagues, like Bryan Habana, Danie Rossouw, Juan Smith and the others.

The Enforcer

"Hopefully, we can achieve more success as a club going into my final season."

Botha went on to express his desire to finish his career at the highest level, the 2015 world Cup.

"If Heyneke Meyer feels that he needs me in the Springbok squad, then I'll be more than happy to be part of the team at the next World Cup," added Botha.

"It's always an honour being part of the Springbok squad. In saying that, I don't want to be in the way of the younger players.

"There are talented young locks in South Africa, like Eben Etzebeth and Lood de Jager, who proved himself against Wales and Scotland. If it's meant to be, it will happen."

The Pretoria man couldn't finish off without applauding his partner Victor Matfield, the one player he knows best in the sport.

"Many people were sceptical when Victor returned to the field at the age of 37, but I knew from day one he was still going to add a lot of value," said Botha.

"There's no substitute for experience.

"It's been great being able to play alongside him too. Everybody thought that the 2011 World Cup was the last of the Victor-Bakkies partnership, but we will continue to give our all to the Springboks when needed.

"We also pass on our experience to the youngsters whenever possible. Yes, it's great to pass on words of congrats to players via social media, like Twitter, but that time we get to spend with them one-on-one is invaluable.

"We teach them things like line-out jumping, scrumming, where to position themselves in different situations and the finer details of the game.

"Heyneke is doing a great job. He's setting great structures in South African rugby. There's a great mix of experience. Seeing young guys like Jan Serfontein and Oupa Mohoje coming through is testament to the work he's putting in behind the scenes. Springbok rugby is very healthy."

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