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Bakkies back to form

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World Cup-winning Springbok lock Bakkies Botha was a fiery presence as Toulon marched into the Heineken Cup semi-finals at the weekend … perhaps a tad too fiery.

Rob Houwing

The French club’s beaten opponents in a quarter-final at Stade Felix Mayol, Leicester Tigers, are furious about an incident in which the former Bulls favourite allegedly kneed their Argentinean international loosehead prop Marcos Ayerza in the back or shoulder.

Richard Cockerill, Leicester’s director of rugby, confirmed that he has brought the matter to the attention of the citing officer after the 21-15 defeat for his side.

In the Daily Telegraph, rugby scribe Alasdair Reid wrote: “Cockerill’s general praise for Toulon and his particular admiration for (Jonny) Wilkinson was qualified by bitterness over the incident that ended Ayerza’s game, with Cockerill claiming he had been kneed by Bakkies Botha.”

The Pumas prop, who made his Test debut against the Boks back in 2004, appears to have a fractured clavicle as a result of the incident.

Reid quoted the former England hooker as saying: “Bones are being broken by foul play and nothing’s done.”

By all accounts, the 33-year-old Botha otherwise gave a full-blooded display as Toulon now advance to a Twickenham semi on April 28 against the Saracens team represented by the big second-rower’s World Cup 2007-winning Bok captain, veteran front-row utility player John Smit.

Botha was denied a try after television replays reportedly hinted at a double movement, and was also involved in a vital up-field surge with seconds left on the clock — and Toulon holding a particularly tenuous 18-15 lead — which led to Wilkinson banging over a decisive dropped goal.

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