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Naas Botha



Rugby Player
Birthdate: February 27, 1958
Naas Botha
Nationality: South African
Home Country: South Africa
Tour Ranking: TBA
Other Links: Naas at Wikipedia
  Naas at ESPN  

Naas Botha is one of the greatest rugby legends of all times and a rugby commentator for the South African TV channels M-Net and Supersport. He was a rugby union player, who played for Northern Transvaal (Blue Bulls) and South Africa (the Springboks). He was voted Rugby Player of the Year in South Africa in 1979, 1981, 1985 and 1987 and mostly played in the fly-half position. Naas, who was born as Henrik Egnatius 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. He played his first Test for the Springboks at the age of 22 in the flyhalf position against South America.

Naas was best known for extremely accurate ambidextrous 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.

Naas remained the highest points scorer in Springbok rugby history for a number of years, with a points total of 312. His tally was passed by Percy Montgomery, however, Montgomery passed him in his 50th match, while Naas had only played in 28. He also played for the “Blue Bulls" from 1977 to 1995, where his contributions ensured that they dominated domestic South African rugby and won the Currie Cup nine times. He was captain of the province a record 128 times and scored a record 2,511 points, including 1,699 points in the Currie Cup.

In 1981 Naas along with the Springboks went to South America as a warm-up for their tour of New Zealand, which was made difficult by protesters opposed to South Africa's apartheid policies. As an indirect result of this tour, South Africa was banned by the International Rugby Board from international competition until 1992, due to which Naas only played few international games. In 1983 however, Naas traveled to the United States in 1983 on the invitation of the American football team the Dallas Cowboys to try out as a placekicker, however, 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 Naas moved to Italy where he played 119 games for Rugby Rovigo and helped them win two National Championships in 1988 and 1990. Naas stuck around long enough to return with the Springboks to international Rugby, playing against Australia and New Zealand, and then touring France. On 14 November 1992 he bid his farewell at the age of 34 as flyhalf against England at Twickenham, London. He had set countless Springbok records during his rugby career. He resides in South Africa with his wife and 3 daughters.

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