Johannesburg - Vodacom Bulls loose forward Renaldo Bothma has been appointed as the new captain for Namibia ahead of the Nations Cup in Romania next month.
According to SuperSport, Bothma, who still has to play for the Vodacom Super Rugby side since joining the Pretoria team last month, will lead his country out into battle, taking over the mantle from hardman Jacques Burger, who retired from international duty after the Rugby World Cup.
Bothma is over his foot injury and has played three Currie Cup games for the Blue Bulls in recent weeks and is set to return to Super Rugby when the competition resumes in a months’ time for the final few matches before heading to Japan to take up his contract there.
But for now his focus will be on starting to build the Namibian team as they start their long journey to try and qualify for Japan in 2019 and face tough opposition in Romania, Spain and Emerging Italy over the next three weeks.
With coach Phil Davies staying on after the World Cup and former Bulls backline coach Pieter Rossouw still with the side for the trip, Bothma is excited about his new leadership role.
“It’s very exciting,” he told Supersport.com, “It is an honour and a privilege to get the job and to take over from a player like Jacques Burger is a massive challenge. But with players with experience like Theuns Kotze and Rohan Kitshoff around me it will make it a lot easier.”
Bothma is honest about the tough challenge that faces his team ahead of the Nations Cup, especially as some of the more experienced players – like the Toyota Cheetahs’ hooker Torsten van Jaarsveld – have been rested and will not be in the team. Add to this the Welwitschias who are struggling in the Currie Cup and Bothma and the coaching team will have their work cut out for them.
“The World Cup last year was a difficult draw for us and we went there to win a game, and we unfortunately didn’t do that. But we progressed well as a team and there is a lot of potential for the next four years,” Bothma explains. “But from it a number of our players managed to join clubs and the experience they picked up will be very valuable in our attempt to qualify for the next World Cup.”
Bothma also sees the advantage of not taking the month break for Super Rugby, especially because he has just returned from injury and is still working his way back to full fitness.
“I struggled a lot with my foot and its now better and I’m enjoying my rugby. It’s good for me to carry on playing for the next three weeks rather than take the break and not train before returning for the last three games of Super Rugby. Now I can play and when I go back to Pretoria I should be in good condition.”
Bulls High Performance Manager Xander Janse van Rensburg congratulated Bothma on his appointment.
“Renaldo leads from the front and it is easy for other players to follow the example he sets,” Janse van Rensburg told Supersport.com.
“He is a tough, honest and hard working player. We wish him well and are very proud of him. We believe he will lead the Namibian team to success in their upcoming games.”
Namibia’s bigger focus will be the African Cup next year and then World Cup qualifiers.
Read the story on SuperSport