Bakkies Botha joins Toulon. Or maybe not


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Bakkies Botha has become the centre of a confusing issue over where he will be playing in the near future.


Last week the Bulls announced that Botha will be staying with the Pretoria club until 2011 as per their contract.


On Monday however French Rugby club Toulon made an announcement stating that Botha will join the club and went as far as to say that he would arrive at the second division club on February the 26th.


The Club also added that Botha, 28, was set to sign for three months with a two-year contract option.


Should Botha leave the Bulls, he would join up with his Springbok team-mate Victor Matfield, one of the stars the club signed this season to make for a very impressive second row.


Toulon are aiming to gain promotion into the French Top 14. They lead the second division by three points from Mont-de-Marsan following their 24-23 defeat to Beziers on Sunday.


The Bulls issued a further statement later on Monday and said that Botha asked to be released from his contract but the Bulls said no, because it will create an unhealthy precedent where other players might also asked to be released from their contracts.

The Blue Bulls’ Business and Communication manager Ian Schwartz said they are standing by their statement from last week, that we have not released Botha.

“He has a contract with us and can’t play anywhere else.”

Schwartz confirmed that the Bulls had already turned down two requests to release Botha – one from the French club, Toulon, and the second from the player himself.

“There have been no further negotiations and nothing has been placed on the table since we turned down those requests, so as it stands Botha still has a contract with us.

“Botha is bound by the International Rugby Board and South African Rugby Union regulations, which makes it impossible for him to play anywhere till he gets a release from us.

“The reports in the media that say Botha is going to play for Toulon in the near future is only speculative and simply not true.”

The Bulls are currently preparing to face the Crusaders this weekend.



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