Naas Botha

Hendrik Egnatius 'Naas' Botha (born 27 February 1958) is a South African former rugby union player, who played for Northern Transvaal and South Africa (the Springboks).

Naas Botha
Rugby Naas Botha.jpg
Birth nameHendrik Egnatius Botha
Date of birth (1958-02-27) 27 February 1958 (age 63)
Place of birthBreyten, South Africa
SchoolHoërskool Hendrik Verwoerd
UniversityUniversity of Pretoria
Rugby union career
Position(s) Fly-half
Senior career
Years Team Apps (Points)
1987–92 Rugby Rovigo 119 (1731)
Correct as of 11 August 2014
Provincial / State sides
Years Team Apps (Points)
1977–95 Northern Transvaal 179 (2511)
Correct as of 11 August 2014
National team(s)
Years Team Apps (Points)
1986, 1992
South Africa
World XV
28 (312)
Correct as of 11 August 2014

He was voted Rugby Player of the Year in 1979, 1981, 1985 and 1987.[1] Botha mostly played in the fly-half position and is now a rugby commentator for the South African M-Net and Supersport TV channels.[2] He is also the Head Coach of the Indian Men's and women's rugby union teams.

Family and early careerEdit

Botha was born in the town of Breyten in the Eastern Transvaal (now Mpumalanga), South Africa and went to school at the Hoërskool Hendrik Verwoerd in Pretoria. As a child, Botha aspired to playing professional baseball and applied for a sport scholarship in the United States. Botha was also an excellent schools cricket and tennis player and also a hurdles athlete.

However, Botha was selected to play for the South African under-20 rugby team, where he caught the eye of the selectors while still a student at the University of Pretoria.[3] As a result, Botha played his first Test for the Springboks on 26 April 1980 at the age of 22 in the flyhalf position against South America at Wanderers, Johannesburg.

Rugby unionEdit

Botha was best known for extremely accurate (both left- and right-footed) kicking, which earned him the nickname "Nasty Booter" from the British press when the British Lions toured South Africa in 1980. He is best remembered for his abilities as a very successful drop-kicker in high pressure situations and is also considered to have had an outstanding tactical understanding of rugby.

While Botha was sometimes criticised for avoiding physical contact and not running with the ball, his handling of the ball was very deft and he could get his backline moving very quickly with accurate short and long range passing. As a result, he scored many tries and contributed to many more. However, some consider that he was somewhat weak in defence. Nevertheless, Danie Craven once said, "Give me Naas, and I'll conquer the world!"

Botha remained the highest points scorer in Springbok rugby history for a number of years,[citation needed] with a points total of 312. His tally was passed by Percy Montgomery on 17 July 2004. However, Montgomery passed him in his 50th match, while Botha had only played in 28.[4]

In addition to his Springbok rugby-playing duties, Botha also played for the Northern Transvaal province (nicknamed the "Blou Bulle", which means "Blue Bulls", now their official name) from 1977 to 1995. During this period his contributions ensured that they dominated domestic South African rugby,[citation needed] and won the Currie Cup nine times (sharing it twice with Western Province in 1979 and 1989). He was also captain of the province a record 128 times,[citation needed] and scored a record 2,511 points (including 1,699 points in the Currie Cup).[citation needed]

The 1981 tour and sporting bansEdit

In 1981 Botha travelled with the Springboks to South America; they subsequently beat Ireland and France in their warm-up to their tour of New Zealand. Public opinion was deeply divided over the New Zealand tour, but Botha and his fellow Springboks focused on playing rugby, which was made difficult by actions such as pitch invasions and aircraft fly-bys from protesters opposed to South Africa's apartheid policies. South Africa lost the series 2–1, but the implications of the tour went far beyond rugby.

As an indirect result of this tour, South Africa was banned by the International Rugby Board from international competition until 1992, which meant apart from hosting the rebel New Zealand Cavaliers tour in 1986, Botha played few international games. Domestically he made up for it, however: in 15 seasons playing for Northern Transvaal he played in 11 Currie Cup finals, winning nine (two shared) and scoring a record 2,511 points.

International careerEdit

In the pre-professional era that Botha played in, being paid to play rugby was always a controversial subject. Despite being handsomely paid "under the table", Botha was of the opinion that he could earn more in professional sport and thus he travelled to the United States in 1983 on the invitation of the American football team the Dallas Cowboys to try out as a placekicker. This move was not successful, however, and he returned to South Africa to continue his rugby career. While in the United States, Naas played rugby with the Dallas Harlequins, where he led them to the 1984 USA National Club Championships.

In 1987, once again primarily for monetary considerations, Botha moved to the Italian club Rugby Rovigo, where he played 119 games and helped them win two National Championships (in 1988 and 1990).

Return to the SpringboksEdit

Botha's career lasted long enough for him to see South Africa let back into the international rugby fold and to play in one-off Tests against World Cup holders Australia and New Zealand. Both games ended in defeat and Botha then toured France with the Springboks before bowing out in a 33–16 defeat on 14 November 1992 at the age of 34 as flyhalf against England at Twickenham, London. He had set countless Springbok records during his rugby career and is still considered to be one of the Springbok "greats".

Personal lifeEdit

Botha is married to Karen, a former Springbok athlete and long jump record-holder; the couple have three daughters, Kyla (1991) Gaeby (1998) and Lee-gre (2003).[5]

Career statsEdit


Team Matches Won Draw Lost Tries Con Pen Drop Points P/M %Won
South AfricaTest matches 28 19 0 9 2 50 50 18 312 11.14 67.86
South Africa – Tour matches 12 10 0 2 4 41 16 9 173 14.42 83.33

Test match recordEdit

No. Opposition Result (SA 1st) Position Points Date Venue
1.   South American Jaguars 24–9 Fly-half 12 (3 con, 1 pen, 1 drop) 26 Apr 1980 Wanderers Stadium, Johannesburg
2.   South American Jaguars 18–9 Fly-half 14 (1 con, 1 pen, 3 drop) 3 May 1980 Kings Park, Durban
3.   British Lions 26–22 Fly-half 6 (3 con) 31 May 1980 Newlands, Cape Town
4.   British Lions 26–19 Fly-half 10 (2 con, 2 pen) 14 Jun 1980 Free State Stadium, Bloemfontein
5.   British Lions 12–10 Fly-half 8 (1 con, 1 pen, 1 drop) 28 Jun 1980 Boet Erasmus Stadium, Port Elizabeth
6.   British Lions 13–17 Fly-half 3 (1 pen) 12 Jul 1980 Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria
7.   South American Jaguars 22–13 Fly-half 10 (2 con, 1 pen, 1 drop) 18 Oct 1980 Wanderers Club, Montevideo
8.   South American Jaguars 30–16 Fly-half 6 (3 con) 25 Oct 1980 Prince of Wales Country Club, Santiago
9.   France 37–15 Fly-half 17 (4 con, 3 pen) 8 Nov 1980 Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria
10.   Ireland 23–15 Fly-half 11 (1 con, 3 pen) 30 May 1981 Newlands, Cape Town
11.   Ireland 12–10 Fly-half 12 (1 pen, 3 drop) 6 Jun 1981 Kings Park, Durban
12.   New Zealand 9–14 Fly-half 5 (1 con, 1 drop) 15 Aug 1981 Lancaster Park, Christchurch
13.   New Zealand 24–12 Fly-half 20 (1 con, 5 pen, 1 drop) 29 Aug 1981 Athletic Park, Wellington
14.   New Zealand 22–25 Fly-half 10 (2 con, 2 pen) 12 Sep 1981 Eden Park, Auckland
15.   United States 38–7 Fly-half 6 (3 con) 20 Sep 1981 Owl Creek Polo ground, Glenville, New York
16.   South American Jaguars 50–18 Fly-half 15 (6 con, 1 drop) 27 Mar 1982 Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria
17.   South American Jaguars 12–21 Fly-half 8 (1 con, 2 pen) 3 Apr 1982 Free State Stadium, Bloemfontein
18. New Zealand Cavaliers 21–15 Fly-half (c) 17 (1 con, 3 pen, 2 drop) 10 May 1986 Newlands, Cape Town
19. New Zealand Cavaliers 18–19 Fly-half (c) 14 (1 con, 4 pen) 17 May 1986 Kings Park, Durban
20. New Zealand Cavaliers 33–18 Fly-half (c) 21 (1 try, 4 con, 3 pen) 24 May 1986 Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria
21. New Zealand Cavaliers 24–10 Fly-half (c) 17 (1 con, 5 pen) 31 May 1986 Ellis Park, Johannesburg
22. World XV 20–19 Fly-half 12 (1 try, 1 con, 2 pen) 26 Aug 1989 Newlands, Cape Town
23. World XV 22–16 Fly-half 14 (1 con, 3 pen, 1 drop) 2 Sep 1989 Ellis Park, Johannesburg
24.   New Zealand 24–27 Fly-half (c) 9 (3 con, 1 pen) 15 Aug 1992 Ellis Park, Johannesburg
25.   Australia 3–26 Fly-half (c) 3 (1 pen) 22 Aug 1992 Newlands, Cape Town
26.   France 20–15 Fly-half (c) 10 (2 con, 1 pen, 1 drop) 17 Oct 1992 Stade de Gerland, Lyon
27.   France 16–29 Fly-half (c) 11 (1 con, 2 pen, 1 drop) 24 Oct 1992 Parc des Princes, Paris
28.   England 16–33 Fly-half (c) 11 (1 con, 2 pen, 1 drop) 14 Nov 1992 Twickenham, London

Legend: pen = penalty (3 pts.); con = conversion (2 pts.), drop = drop kick (3 pts.).

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Allan, Jani (1980s). Face Value. Longstreet. pp. 80–2. ISBN 0-620-07013-7.
  2. ^ "Who's Who of Southern Africa". Retrieved 6 June 2009.
  3. ^ Naas Botha Retrieved 25 June 2011
  4. ^ Van Rooyen, Quintus (1993). Bankfin Annual 1993. SA Rugby Writers' Society. p. 209. ISBN 0620172940.
  5. ^ Sarie interviews Botha Retrieved 5 December 2014

External linksEdit

Sporting positions
Preceded by
Divan Serfontein
Springbok Captain
1986 and 1992
Succeeded by
Jannie Breedt