Jacques Botes became the first ever player to appear in 150 matches in the Currie Cup for the Sharks.
He increased that record to 156 before his retirement at the end of the 2014 season. His final ever appearance was for the Barbarians against the Leicester Tigers on the 4th November 2014 in a match celebrating Barbarians 125th anniversary. He scored the final try in a 59-26 victory and also slotted the resultant conversion.
There is no greater testimonial to describe ones character than that given by your team mates, opposition and the public at large. Mr Reliable, Stalwart or Mentor are to name but a few.
Although his current role at the Sharks is Player development Manager, most would say his experience and involvement is felt at many other levels too. We caught up with this legend…
What is it about the Sharks academy that attracts so many youngsters?
The potential pathway to Senior Rugby as the Sharks contract less Juniors than other Unions, combined with study options that are designed around their rugby schedule.
Many of our players name yourself as their ultimate mentor. How did that role come about for you?
Firstly I feel flattered by a statement like that! I have a passion for helping young men make the right decisions in life in order to make the most of the opportunities and challenges they face!
What are the most important things you teach them?
With Mentoring it’s not necessarily copy and paste, you have to take into account the persons’ personality and of course their current situation and challenges. There are, however, a couple of principles that help you see things in perspective like asking yourself what is the story you would like to tell one day when you look back at your life or the situation you’re facing right now or what would be a remarkable response / decision to make now.
How did you end up at the Sharks?
I managed to get Man of the Match whilst playing for the Pumas vs The Sharks and got a call soon after. Dick Muir was also instrumental in the process as I played under him at Tuks and he put in a good word for me and ultimately coached me at The Sharks for a number of years.
With your illustrious career spanning more than 10 seasons was there ever another career you were also interested in?
Initially no. I really wanted to chase my dream but it was touch and go for me at a stage with the rugby and had it not worked out I would have applied myself to Business earlier.
Who are some of the players, you played alongside, that are in your top 5?
Tough one as I played with some great players, guys that come to mind are Johann Muller / Ruan Pienaar / Stefan Terblanche – Not just for their rugby ability but for the people they are.
Most memorable moment playing for the Sharks?
Being able to run out on to the field with my son during my last game at Growthpoint Kingspark, my Family, The Sharks and my teammates really made it a special day for me!
Who would you say is the prankster of the team?
Bismarck du Plessis for sure with Ryan Kankowski and Jean Deysel short on his heels.
Which player, in your opinion, is the most underrated player in SA?
In SA we have so many of them. At Super Rugby level I think Jaco Kriel has been unlucky to not have received higher honours and at The Sharks watch Marius Louw!
If you had the power, who would you pick as our next Springbok coach?
Allister Coetzee with Brendan Venter and Johan Ackermann as his assistants.
What was your experience like playing for the Barbarians? Apart from the incredible experience, we hear players receive some amazing gifts, can you tell us some of yours?
What an amazing experience it was being able to play my last rugby game for them! You get to play with players from many different countries around the world, get treated to 5 Star Hotels and receive a really nice “envelope” as a token of their appreciation Every player should wish for an opportunity to play for them, great memories are made and they have a rich tradition which is awesome to be part of!
Thank you Jacques and all the best for the rest of the season.