Hannes Botha, a Springbok forward in three Tests in the early 1960s, died on 30 August 2011 after a long battle against cancer.
Botha was born in Potgietersrus, schooled in Pretoria and then went off to join the army. He started at Stellenbosch and then moved to the military academy at Saldanha. He graduated BMil. The military academy was in the Boland second league but he was still chosen for Boland and played lock for them seven times. In 1960 he went back to Pretoria and played for Defence. and Northern Transvaal (9 times) That year he became a Junior Springbok, playing against Wilson Whineray's All Blacks who beat them 20-6. At the end of the year he was in Avril Malan's Springbok team that toured the UK, Ireland and France. Hannes was in the same school team as Avril - he at lock, Avril at eighthman. Their roles were reversed when they played for South Africa. On that tour Hannes played in seven matches but did not play in a Test when the loose forwards were Hugo van Zyl, Martin Pelser, Doug Hopwood and Frik du Preez..
But when the British & Irish Lions came to South Africa in 1962 Hannes played flank in three of the four Tests, the second, third and fourth Tests, all of which the Springboks won. This was the height of Hannes's career and he was outstanding in the three victories.
In 1963 he transferred to Tempe, near Bloemfontein, and played for Orange Free State 16 times.
His rugby career waned but his military career waxed and he was in charge of several military organisations, ending with the rank of Brigadier and was the aide de camp to the State President.
Johannes Petrus Frederick Botha was born in Potgietersrus on 11 May 1937, the son of Frederick Petrus and Elizabeth Botha. He married Adriana Lombard and they had four sons and a daughter -Hannes, Frederick Petrus, Christo and Adriana.
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