Thursday 29 September 2016

Botha eager to prolong Munster career beyond Christmas

Published 07/05/2015 | 02:30

The former Springbok was handed an unorthodox six-month extension which expires at the end of December, but wants to continue beyond that point
The former Springbok was handed an unorthodox six-month extension which expires at the end of December, but wants to continue beyond that point

Munster tighthead prop BJ Botha wants to prove his worth to the province and extend his stay in Limerick beyond the end of the year.

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The former Springbok was handed an unorthodox six-month extension which expires at the end of December, but wants to continue beyond that point.

The 35-year-old had looked for a longer deal, but with the IRFU restrictions on overseas players tightening and Botha having been at Munster since 2011, there was limited scope for him to sign a more long-term deal.

However, he says there could be an opportunity to carry on beyond the end of the current deal if he can continue performing well on the field.

"At this stage we have agreed on the six months," he said.

"I'm happy to get through and put in performances game by game.

"At my time in my career I think you have to be there mentally and the physical part comes after that again.

"I will make the decision again - hopefully if I get the opportunity - at the end of the year and see can I remain on and see if I am wanting to stay on as well from both sides.

"At this stage I am happy to stay on and hopefully I've got more to contribute and to still play at that level."

On Saturday, the 25-times capped World Cup winner returns to his former home as Munster take on Ulster at Kingspan Stadium hoping to continue their push for a home semi-final in the Guinness Pro12.

Botha knows that this could be his last shot at silverware in a red jersey and wants to make the most of it.

"I put myself under more pressure in that sense," he said.

"You think about your career and how quickly it goes.

"You don't want to let anything pass you by so I put myself under pressure in every game and even more so now trying to put in those performances and try to put in that extra little bit of work for the rest of this season, and progressing into next season and to the end of the year to show you can hold it at this level and maybe even better.

"It's disappointing that we're not in Europe any more, but it possibly even bigger now that we look at ourselves this weekend with both sides out of Europe and going at it in the Pro12."

Botha believes second-placed Munster can kick on and win at a venue where they have traditionally struggled.

"There has been progress over the past couple of games," he said. "We have used a couple of different players and we have a few guys back available now. It is about getting that mix right.

"This is a huge challenge for us, no doubt. If we produce the kind of performance we know we can, I think we will hopefully give ourselves a chance."

Irish Independent

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