Naas Botha
Full names: Hendrik Egnatius
Date of birth: 27 Feb 1958
Place of birth: Breyten
School: Hendrik Verwoerd
Springbok no: 502
Debut test province: Northern Transvaal
Physical: 1.79m, 73kg
Current age: 66

Test summary: Tests: 28 Tries: 2
First Test: 26 Apr 1980 Age:22 Flyhalf against South America at Wanderers, Johannesburg
Last Test: 14 Nov 1992 Age:34 Flyhalf against England at Twickenham, London
Test history:
26 Apr 198022FlyhalfSouth AmericaWin: 24-93 conversions, 1 penalty, 1 dropgoalWanderers, JohannesburgN-Tvl
03 May 198022FlyhalfSouth AmericaWin: 18-91 conversion, 1 penalty, 3 dropgoalsKingspark, DurbanN-Tvl
31 May 198022FlyhalfBritainWin: 26-223 conversionsNewlands, Cape TownN-Tvl
14 Jun 198022FlyhalfBritainWin: 26-192 conversions, 2 penaltiesFree State Stadium, BloemfonteinN-Tvl
28 Jun 198022FlyhalfBritainWin: 12-101 conversion, 1 penalty, 1 dropgoalBoet Erasmus, Port ElizabethN-Tvl
12 Jul 198022FlyhalfBritainLose: 13-171 penaltyLoftus Versfeld, PretoriaN-Tvl
18 Oct 198022FlyhalfSouth AmericaWin: 22-132 conversions, 1 penalty, 1 dropgoalWanderers Club, MontevideoN-Tvl
25 Oct 198022FlyhalfSouth AmericaWin: 30-163 conversionsPrince of Wales Country Club, SantiagoN-Tvl
08 Nov 198022FlyhalfFranceWin: 37-154 conversions, 3 penaltiesLoftus Versfeld, PretoriaN-Tvl
30 May 198123FlyhalfIrelandWin: 23-151 conversion, 3 penaltiesNewlands, Cape TownN-Tvl
06 Jun 198123FlyhalfIrelandWin: 12-101 penalty, 3 dropgoalsKingspark, DurbanN-Tvl
15 Aug 198123FlyhalfNew ZealandLose: 9-141 conversion, 1 dropgoalLancaster Park (Jade stadium), ChristchurchN-Tvl
29 Aug 198123FlyhalfNew ZealandWin: 24-121 conversion, 5 penalties, 1 dropgoalAthletic Park, WellingtonN-Tvl
12 Sep 198123FlyhalfNew ZealandLose: 22-252 conversions, 2 penaltiesEden Park, AucklandN-Tvl
25 Sep 198123FlyhalfUSAWin: 38-73 conversionsOwl Creek Polo ground, Glenville, NYN-Tvl
27 Mar 198224FlyhalfSouth AmericaWin: 50-186 conversions, 1 dropgoalLoftus Versfeld, PretoriaN-Tvl
03 Apr 198224FlyhalfSouth AmericaLose: 12-211 conversion, 2 penaltiesFree State Stadium, BloemfonteinN-Tvl
10 May 198628Flyhalf (C)NZ CavaliersWin: 21-151 conversion, 3 penalties, 2 dropgoalsNewlands, Cape TownN-Tvl
17 May 198628Flyhalf (C)NZ CavaliersLose: 18-191 conversion, 4 penaltiesKingspark, DurbanN-Tvl
24 May 198628Flyhalf (C)NZ CavaliersWin: 33-181 try, 4 conversions, 3 penaltiesLoftus Versfeld, PretoriaN-Tvl
31 May 198628Flyhalf (C)NZ CavaliersWin: 24-101 conversion, 5 penaltiesEllispark, JohannesburgN-Tvl
26 Aug 198931FlyhalfWorld InvitationWin: 20-191 try, 1 conversion, 2 penaltiesNewlands, Cape TownN-Tvl
02 Sep 198931FlyhalfWorld InvitationWin: 22-161 conversion, 3 penalties, 1 dropgoalEllispark, JohannesburgN-Tvl
15 Aug 199234Flyhalf (C)New ZealandLose: 24-273 conversions, 1 penaltyEllispark, JohannesburgBlue Bulls
22 Aug 199234Flyhalf (C)AustraliaLose: 3-261 penaltyNewlands, Cape TownBlue Bulls
17 Oct 199234Flyhalf (C)FranceWin: 20-152 conversions, 1 penalty, 1 dropgoalStade de Gerland, LyonBlue Bulls
24 Oct 199234Flyhalf (C)FranceLose: 16-291 conversion, 2 penalties, 1 dropgoalParc des Princes, ParisBlue Bulls
14 Nov 199234Flyhalf (C)EnglandLose: 16-331 conversion, 2 penalties, 1 dropgoalTwickenham, LondonBlue Bulls

Naas Botha : Brad Morgan

The Naas Botha of today is a well-known rugby commentator on the South African Supersport Channel, but in his day as a player he was one of the most feared match-winners in the game. Botha was best known for his deadly boot – whether he was punting the ball, place-kicking or drop-kicking, he stood in a class of his own.

Such was his brilliance that it didn’t take the British press long to dub him “Nasty Booter” when the Lions toured South Africa in 1980. They found out just how nasty he could be in the third test in Port Elizabeth when Botha, under immense pressure, put a touchline conversion between the uprights in wet conditions to give the Springboks a 12-10 victory and an unbeatable three-nil series lead.

Botha was more than just a points machine, however. His tactical understanding of the game was outstanding and his ability to dominate a match with the boot beyond compare. Reading the game like a chess master, he would keep the opposition continually on the back foot, and was always a step ahead of the rest because he could put what was in his mind into practice.

Kicking with equal ease with left or right foot, he could put the ball into touch, or between the uprights, or into the hands of a breakaway wing, seemingly at will.

To categorise Botha as a kicking flyhalf alone would do the man a great injustice. Blessed with superb hands, Botha got a backline moving very quickly, and the fact of the matter is that backlines playing with him scored a good many tries. Although he seldom took the ball up in the manner of the modern-day flyhalf, he had an eye for a gap and was a deceptively fast runner, resulting in a good number of tries for the blond-haired flyhalf or those in support of him.

Probably, though, Botha will best be remembered for his uncanny ability as a drop-kicker. In the wink of an eye he could change the course of a game with a beautifully struck drop goal, and trying to defend against it was impossible given his ability to make the snap drop-kick without warning and with either foot.

In one match against Natal in 1992, he dropped five goals. He was an extremely elusive player, with an excellent jink. Every opponent he faced knew he was the kingpin they needed to unsettle, but seldom did they manage to lay a hand on him.

Botha was hated by fans of teams that his Northern Transvaal side faced in provincial competition – and adored by those same supporters when he turned out for the Springboks. There was a similarity between Botha and the legendary New Zealand captain Sean Fitzpatrick in that opposition fans hated him, but all would have loved to have him in their side.

Today the former Bok captain remains the highest scorer in Springbok history, and had he been playing in recent years, with far more matches, there is no doubt that he would have far exceeded his points total of 312. As it was, he was in his prime and played for many years when South Africa was isolated from the rest of the world, denying him the chance of achieving even greater success on the world stage.

He played for Northern Transvaal from the late 1970s into the early 1990s, and during that time the Blue Bulls won the Currie Cup six times, in large part due to his contributions. He captained the province a record 128 times and scored a record 2 511 points, including 1 699 points in the Currie Cup.

Botha also has the distinction, uncommon among rugby players, of having a rose named after him. Long may “Rosa Naas Botha” bloom, to remind us of one the greatest Springboks and flyhalves the world of rugby has ever seen