Former Springboks lock Bakkies Botha has said he is “humbled” to learn that his former coach at Toulon considers him to be the best player he ever coached.
Botha spent an extremely successful four seasons with Toulon, as the French club became the first side to win the Heineken/Champions Cup three times in a row.
Former Toulon and France head coach Bernard Laporte clearly believes Botha played a crucial role in that success, as he named him as the best player he coached in a recent interview with beIN Sports TV.
WATCH: Bakkies Botha nails the Dan Biggar impression. pic.twitter.com/Zn9G8QR88i
— USA Sevens Rugby (@USASevensRugby) November 23, 2015
“For me, Bakkies Botha is the greatest player in the world that I have coached in my career. Afterwards, it’s difficult to compare because Jonny Wilkinson was excellent, Matt Giteau was monstrous,” Laporte said.
“But Bakkies Botha was so strong physically and I would have liked so much to be like him on a field to scare everyone and smash everyone.”
‘I always thought of myself as one of a kind’
Botha took to Twitter to show his appreciation of Laporte’s praise, saying he was glad he played a role in Toulon creating “rugby history”.
“I have always thought of myself as one of a kind, but to read a special man like Bernard Laporte say I was the best player he ever coached made me feel humbled but also proud,” Botha wrote on Twitter.
“I went to Toulon to create rugby history and we did. Regards and Blessings, The Real Enforcer.”
I have always thought of myself as one of a kind,but to read a special man like @BernardLaporte_ say I was the best player he ever coached made me feel humbled but also proud.I went to @rugbytoulon_ to create rugby history and we did 🔴⚫️🏆Regards and Blessings THE REAL ENFORCER pic.twitter.com/fbNHErlIo8
— Bakkies Botha (@BakkiesBotha4) April 7, 2021
Before arriving at Toulon, Botha already had a glittering career, having won the Rugby World Cup with South Africa in 2007, as well as winning the series against British and Irish Lions with the Springboks in 2009.
The South African enforcer wasn’t exactly lauded for his discipline, but there’s no doubting that he is one of the most physically imposing players to ever run out onto a rugby pitch.