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Lions hunt for Botha

Reports in South Africa have linked Ulster prop BJ Botha with Super 15 franchise the Lions, writes Hugh Farrelly.

The Springbok tight-head is out of contract at the end of the season and it is understood Botha's representatives have approached both Munster and Leinster with a view to moving.

However, Mike Ross and Jamie Hagan are expected to be on Leinster's books next season, which would mean Botha's Irish options are to either stay with Ulster or move to Munster.

Now, South African media are reporting that the Lions "are close to securing" Botha which, if that is the case, would mean a return to his home country.

It's possible Botha could make the move along with Bath out-half Butch James, who has also been strongly linked with the Johannesburg-based outfit.

James joined Bath in 2007, making his debut in their 28--6 victory over Auch in the European Challenge Cup with a try-scoring man-of-the-match performance.

Irish Independent