Picture: Getty Images
By Mark Stevens
Exeter Chiefs are ready to unleash Namibian speedster Chrysander Botha into the Aviva Premiership after the international star today became the club’s eighth signing of the summer.
The Super Rugby star – who joins from the Lions in South Africa – touched down at Sandy Park yesterday and will join up with his new team-mates next week ahead of the new 2014/15 season.
Full-back Botha has been tracked by the Chiefs coaching team for some time and assistant coach Ali Hepher believes the arrival of the 26-year-old will give the Devon club yet another attacking weapon in their arsenal as the countdown to the new campaign looms ever larger on the horizon.
Indeed, Hepher believes Botha, who was part of Namibia’s squad for the last Rugby World Cup in New Zealand in 2011, will help bolster Exeter’s back three options, particularly in the wake of Luke Arscott’s departure to Bath during the close season.
“He’s a slightly different player to what we’ve got already. There’s hopefully a little more pace and he’s an exciting runner on the ball. He’s also tough defensively, which is always important at full-back.
“It’s a slot we have been looking to fill for a little while now, we’ve been looking for the right person but we weren’t desperate because we’ve got other players who are more than capable of playing in that position. Hopefully he will add a bit more quality there for us.”
Certainly Botha will have plenty of competition for the No.15 jersey with the likes of Phil Dollman, Jack Nowell and Jack Arnott more than capable of filling the position if called upon.
However, Botha’s earlier than expected arrival means that the African ace now has time to not only settle into his new surroundings, but will be able to feature in the club’s three upcoming pre-season friendlies against Cardiff Blues, Ulster and Worcester Warriors.
And Hepher believes having the player on board this early in pre-season means he will be able to quickly get himself up to speed with the Chiefs’ game plan over the next fortnight or so.
“With the Super Rugby season finishing, we wanted to get him in as early as possible,” added Hepher. “It’s worked at this stage and it will be good to get him into training next week and then we can really have a good look at him within our system and see how he goes.
“Obviously we have got other options for the position, so it’s meant we have been able to take our time to find the best fit that was out there and hopefully Chrysander is that.”