Cape Town - Former Springbok and Bulls loose forward Arno Botha is relishing his new lease on life at English club London Irish.
The 26-year-old, who played two Tests for the Boks in 2013, was set to leave the Bulls after last year’s Super Rugby competition to join Ulster, before the Irish club revoked his contract after he suffered a knee injury.
Botha's career has been blighted by injury setbacks. He tore knee ligaments during his second (and last) Test appearance in 2013 which ruled him out for the rest of that season - he then injured the same knee at the start of 2014.
In 2015, he suffered a pectoral muscle injury, and at the end of 2016 he dislocated a shoulder that required surgery.
When the injury curse struck again in 2017, Botha’s career hung in the balance before he received a lifeline at London Irish.
In an interview with Netwerk24, Botha said his long-term plans are to remain in England.
“I think about the Boks, but it’s not my main aim. My biggest aim is to gain a British passport. Rugby can do that for me, so I want to grab the opportunity of establishing myself in England.”
Botha also said he was enjoying working with Brendan Venter, who is London Irish’s technical assistant.
Venter was the Springboks’ defence and exits consultant last year.
“He brings out the best in me,” Botha said of Venter.
“Nowadays, it feels as though I’m in the same physical condition I was in 2013.”