Wednesday 23 May 2018

Van Graan happy to add Botha to his Munster squad

Arno Botha
Arno Botha
Cian Tracey

Cian Tracey

Munster have bolstered their back-row options ahead of next season with the signing of South African Arno Botha on a one-year contract.

The deal is subject to Botha obtaining a work permit as well as passing a medical, which is likely to be stringent, given that Ulster were due to sign the 26-year-old last May before the move collapsed due to concerns over a series of injury setbacks.

Following that, in January the twice-capped Springbok moved to relegated London Irish, for whom he only played five times in the Premiership.

A powerful ball carrier, during his five-game spell in the top flight no player made more carries (78), beat more defenders (22), or won more turnovers (7), while he also made 69/70 tackles, according to Opta's stats.

Short

While Munster are not exactly short of back-row options, Botha's arrival will soften the blow of losing Robin Copeland, who is joining Connacht.

A former captain of the South African U-20s at the 2011 World Cup, Botha has previously worked with Munster head coach Johann van Graan during the pair's time with the Bulls, and also the national side.

Botha can play across the back-row as well as No 8, and if he can stay fit, will provide Munster with a new attacking threat.

"In building our squad for next season I believe Arno will be a great addition, adding further depth and strength to our back-row options," Van Graan said.

"A physical ball carrier and lineout jumper, he leads by example with his work-rate, commitment and physicality, and we look forward to welcoming him to the province."

Irish Independent

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