Ulster can Bok's planned move on 'medical grounds'

Thu, 18 May 2017 12:37
Large arno botha bulls 800

NEWS: Ulster has dropped a bomb on injury-prone Springbok Arno Botha.

Despite the much-hyped signing of the twice-capped loose forward, the Irish province confirmed that Botha will not join them later this year.

The announcement is the result of a "detailed medical assessment" on the player.

Botha, who has a long history of knee injuries, was meant to move to Ireland at the end of the Super Rugby campaign.

However, the 25-year-old suffered yet another knee injury last month.

Although he has since made a recovery and will captain the Blue Bulls in a secondary domestic competition, the Irish province felt the risk of further medical expenses is too great.

"It's unfortunate for both Arno and Ulster that we've had to come to this decision as we were looking forward to welcoming him to Kingspan Stadium," Ulster Operations Director Bryn Cunningham said.

"However, we have acted with the best interests of team performance in mind.

"We have meticulous processes in place for all player recruitment and having commissioned an independent medical assessment in South Africa, it was recommended that the risk had increased following his most recent injury.

"This view was shared by our own medical team.

"Everyone associated with Ulster sincerely hopes that Arno will go on to have a long and successful career.

"Once this decision was reached, we compiled an extensive list of potential targets and we will announce a signing to bolster the forward pack in due course."
Botha, who can operate as a flank or No.8, made his Springbok debut in June 2013.

A knee injury just four minutes into his second Test, against Scotland, later that month scuppered his progress.

He has since spent lengthy periods on the sidelines with injuries, mostly his knees.

Botha was tipped to be a future Springbok captain, but his career has been severely curtailed by those injuries.

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