Arno Botha is back at the Super Rugby Bulls after bringing an end to a European adventure that started at London Irish and finished up at Munster. The 28-year-old, who won two Springboks caps in 2013, becomes Jake White’s latest signing in an attempt to rejuvenate the Pretoria-based club.
“As one door closes another one opens. With this in mind I just want to thank the Bulls for the opportunity to be part of the #BullsFamily again, especially in this time,” said Botha after it was revealed he would be leaving Munster following two seasons with the Irish province.
“The Bulls have always and will always be a special part of my life and I’m looking forward to being back at Loftus. Is awesome to be heading home.”
On Instagram, Botha addressed the Munster club he will now leave behind. “It’s impossible to say how much the last 2 years have meant to me in a few photos. Playing in front of such incredible support was an honour & I’m very proud to have worn the Munster jersey. Thanks for everything.”
Bulls boss White added: “Arno is a proud son of Loftus and there is no doubt that the fans will be ecstatic to see him back. He started his rugby journey here and played all of his junior rugby in blue.
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It's impossible to say how much the last 2 years have meant to me in a few photos. I can say that it has been an absolute pleasure playing for one of the best clubs in the world & working with the best people. Playing in front of such incredible support was an honour & I'm very proud to have worn the Munster jersey. Thanks for everything #SUAF
“There were big things expected from him from a young age, and he has now grown into a complete and well-balanced loose forward. It’s no secret that we are in the process of building something very special at Loftus, and Arno is going to be a huge part of that.”
Johann van Grann, the Munster coach who previously worked at the Bulls, said: “Arno has been a great addition to the Munster squad and will be missed. I’ve no doubt the #BullsFamily are delighted to see him return to his home province as he is a quality signing. We wish Arno all the best for the future and thank him for his time in red.”
Botha captained the Junior Springboks in 2011 which saw him awarded the SA Rugby U20 player of the year before making his Bulls Currie Cup debut later that year. His rise continued as he made his Springbok debut in 2013 before a serious knee injury curtailed his Test career.
The back row will hope that his decision to return to the Bulls will aid his ambition to break back into the Springboks reckoning. “It will always be something (I want). It isn’t something that will die easily. I still have the desire to be the best, even though it might seem like a long road,” he said in February.
“I will work every day as if it is the day I can perform to my optimal form. I always say if I stop hoping to play for South Africa then I might stop playing rugby. Then there is no motivation to do it,” he explained. “I love rugby and love playing at the top level. To play for your country is the best way to prove that. I definitely have hope for that.”
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