Naas: Butch could cost Boks

2011-06-13 22:03
Naas Botha (File)
Gerdie Karstens

Kimberley - If Butch James wishes to stay out of the limelight, he needs to avoid drawing attention to himself for the wrong reasons.

That is the view of former Springbok flyhalf Naas Botha in the wake of James' citing for a dangerous tackle on Sharks flank Keegan Daniel in Saturday's Super Rugby match in Johannesburg.

"These days there are so many cameras and technical aspects involved in the game that you can't get away with foul play," said Botha.

James has to appear at a SANZAR judicial hearing on Wednesday at 12pm and is facing a possible suspension that could jeopardise his participation in the Tri-Nations.

It was largely thanks to James that the Lions were leading 30-9 before his high tackle on Daniel.

There were major consequences as he was immediately penalised with a yellow card by referee Mark Lawrence. It also gave rise to the Sharks' comeback and they eventually managed to draw the game 30-30.

James was included in the 37-man Springbok squad last week for a planning session ahead of the World Cup, but it's a decision that Bok coach Peter de Villiers should possibly revisit.

With James in their midst, the Springboks may just find themselves in a situation in New Zealand where a yellow card derails their campaign.

Yes, he was part of the triumphant Springbok team of 2007 and has heaps of experience, but his lack of discipline on defence should weigh heavier than all the positive aspects.

"Butch did not play badly, but his tackling cost him and the Lions. It's the kind of incident that can cost your country the World Cup," said Botha.

James is notorious for his dangerous tackles and World Cup referees will certainly know about it.

"There is a stigma attached to him as far as his tackling is concerned and the spotlight will definitely be on him in New Zealand."

While his tackling is a concern, Botha does not believe that the incident in which James was involved should be blown out of proportion.

"Butch will realise the consequences of his actions. But it still happens too often that players execute high or spear tackles. It's still part of the game, so I don't think Butch is a unique case."

Prior to his yellow card, James' goalkicking was the main reason for the Lions being on the front foot. That may be the equalising factor when De Villiers decides on his participation in the World Cup.

"It (his kicking) is definitely a positive," said Botha.

"We are currently very fortunate to have several good kickers such as Butch, Morné (Steyn) and Patrick Lambie in South Africa. New Zealand and Australian sides are struggling with their goalkicking."

Read more on:    rwc 2011  |  naas botha

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