Rugby World Cup 2011

Bakkies' emotional team talk

2011-10-06 10:05
Bakkies Botha

Wellington - His campaign wrecked by injury and facing the end of his international rugby career, veteran lock Bakkies Botha delivered a sombre message to Springboks team-mates ahead of their Rugby World Cup quarterfinal against Australia.

Botha missed selection in the South Africa team for Sunday's match after aggravating an Achilles' tendon injury and will not play again at the tournament.

But he set aside immense personal disappointment to address team-mates on Thursday with a rallying message and a reminder: You never know which test may be your last.

"Bakkies had a talk to the team this morning and it did get a little bit emotional," said winger Bryan Habana.

"We've had a guy that's really given his heart to this country for the last 10 years and he's become a good friend to a lot of us. He's a strong character within this team, not only by the way he carries on off the field, but his ability to bring this team together on the field."

Habana stopped short of saying there wasn't a dry eye in the house but he admitted Botha's message, and the circumstance in which it was delivered, was sobering.

"Yes, it was a bit sombre in the team room this morning and I think Bakkies said it the most. He said you never know when it's going to be your last game," Habana said.

"I think it is tough on the team.

"Whether it was tougher losing Frans Steyn, or New Zealand losing Dan Carter, it's difficult to say, but he's become a great friend, a great rugby player and the ability he had to lift this team will live in our hearts for quite a while."

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