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Jacques Botes – in his own words #JB270


Written by Rob Otto (robdylan)

Posted in :Currie Cup, In the news, Sharks, Super Rugby on 3 Oct 2014 at 08:06
Tagged with : , , , , , , , , , ,

Morning Sharksworld – and welcome to Jacques Botes Day!

I can think of no more fitting way to kick off our tributes than to borrow (from www.sharksrugby.co.za) some of the great man’s own words. I think these pretty much sum up the player we’ve all come to know and love over ten great seasons with the Sharks.

To sum up my career at the Cell C Sharks in a couple of words is really difficult. Firstly I want to thank all the people who gave me the opportunities, the grace of the company to allow me to travel this journey, from players to coaches to medical staff to administrators, family, and in particular my wife Nadia, her support and love have been unwavering. I feel very blessed with the grace shown to me by God. I’ve had some really amazing times here. I arrived in Durban as a newly-wed with a senior contract, hoping to make a life here and 10 years later, Durban is indeed our home now.

It’s tough to single out too many people, the list goes on and on, but I have been blessed to play with so many great players. The wonderful thing about the Cell C Sharks, and it’s helped my career, is that you play with a better quality of player and they make you look better as well. Johann Muller is one such player and he had a big impact on my rugby career. It was a very special occasion when he was captain and we managed to lift the Absa Currie Cup trophy for the first time in 12 years. He was immensely professional in the way he trained and conducted himself on and off the field. Stefan Terblanche was another, the ultimate professional, he managed to stay evergreen. I’d like to mention someone like John Smit as well. When I arrived at The Sharks, he was already Springbok captain and there was a real sense of awe about playing rugby with the Springbok captain. He has immense presence and authority, but also great humility. I could go on. Keegan Daniel and I played almost 200 games together, he also pipped the 200 mark and we formed a great friendship in our journey together as well. There are also great friendships with the likes of Bismarck du Plessis, Odwa Ndungane and Ruan Pienaar who all arrived with me in Durban at the same time. And Jean Deysel, Charl McLeod, Willem Alberts and Jannie du Plessis. Where do I stop?

One milestone that does stand out for me was my Super Rugby debut. Although we lost that game, I still recall it quite vividly. Getting to a point where you’re a regular in the team is also something I enjoyed and first tours and first trophies are also some wonderful memories. I’ve also really been blessed when it comes to injuries and managed to play a number of games on the trot. There were times we played some very exciting rugby, with different coaches.

There is a huge element of doing what you need to do if you want to play, and remain fit to play. You can’t rest on your laurels. I’ve made sure that any niggles were constantly rehabbed and even doing prehab, working with your body because it’s your asset; if the body doesn’t function, no matter how strong your mind or the quality of your skills, if you can’t be on the field then you can’t play. For me, if there was something that might take me from my best physical condition, then I’d rather cut it out. Whether it was drinking, or not doing recovery, or skipping an extra gym session.

There were a few opportunities to take up overseas contracts. There was often interest from the odd French club and there was a great offer at Sale Sharks which I nearly took, I was in a position of being released after five years here, but then they decided they really wanted me to stay. There was also an offer from Glasgow, but we just felt it was better for me to finish out my career here. If I wasn’t going to remain with The Sharks, I didn’t want to go anywhere else in South Africa. But the big thing was timing; initially I thought I would go overseas for a couple of years, but in hindsight, it’s worked out perfect for me – I’m grateful I didn’t go.

I have always been big on preparing well and that always gives lots of confidence. It’s funny how it works. When you put a little extra in, when you need it, it’s always there. Dick Muir always had this philosophy of money in the bank, and that’s what pre-season and hard training is all about. I like the philosophy of, ‘I train well even when I don’t feel like it, because I know that the result it produces far outweighs the effort.’ That’s been my motivation.

I am really looking forward to playing my last home game, it’s such a great privilege to be in a situation when you know this is it. So many people would have loved to have kept playing for the Cell C Sharks, some had their careers cut short by injury or lack of form. It’s a journey I will always treasure, and one I’m able to leave on my own terms. I’m very grateful that it’s worked out this way.”



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