Bakkies Botha retires after Boks win over Italy

Late Bryan Habana try adds gloss to unconvincing win for South Africa in Padova

Italy’s Quintin Geldenhuys tackles  South Africa’s Jean De Villiers   at the Euganeo Stadium in Padova. Photograph: Alessandro Garofalo / Reuters

Italy’s Quintin Geldenhuys tackles South Africa’s Jean De Villiers at the Euganeo Stadium in Padova. Photograph: Alessandro Garofalo / Reuters

 

Italy 6 South Africa 22

South Africa claimed an unconvincing 22-6 victory over Italy on Saturday with a late try from Bryan Habana adding some respectability after a lacklustre performance in Padova.

The Boks scored three tries, the others coming from Coenie Oosthuizen and Cobus Reinach, but showed none of the accuracy that helped them beat England at Twickenham last weekend, against an Italian side full of guts and passion.

Bok coach Heyneke Meyer will be scratching his head looking for positives from the game with five matches to go until next year’s World Cup.

Their other points came from a Pat Lambie penalty and two conversions from Handre Pollard. Italy contested and forced the visitors into errors, with their points coming from two penalties by outhalf Kelly Haimona.

Afterwards, legendary lock Bakkies Botha announced his retirement from the international stage.

Botha did not play today, his last match being the last week’s 31-28 victory over England at Twickenham, but he waited until after today’s game to announce his decision.

“I want to thank everyone involved in my career for the opportunities I was given, as well as the supporters of the teams I represented for staying loyal to me even when I let them down,” said Botha. “To those I do not mention in giving thanks, you are the ones I will thank in person.

“I want to give honour to God for protecting me and allowing me the grace of good health, and especially my beautiful wife, Carien, and my three beautiful children, who supported me throughout my career. I know that every day I get out of bed being able to walk, talk and dream about the future is just a gift money can’t buy, no matter what your resources are.

“I’m planning to finish my contract with Toulon and defend our titles this season. And who knows, perhaps there is a province in South Africa who can see me add value to their Currie Cup campaign next year and I can play my final match in my beloved country of birth before finally hanging up my boots at the end of 2015 at all levels of the game.”

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