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Saturday May 14, 2016

Ben Botica inexplicably kicks the ball away as Harlequins attempt late comeback in final

Ben Botica inexplicably kicks the ball away as Harlequins attempt late comeback in final
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Ben Botica had a nightmare ending to his Harlequins career as Montpellier won the European Challenge Cup Final 26-19 in Lyon on Friday night. Quins had mounted a comeback but with ball in hand and time up, Botica kicked it away, rather than keeping possession to go for the draw.

Harlequins had fought their way back into the match after Jake White’s largerly South African Montpellier looked comfortable for the majority of the contest. Quins needed a try and conversion to take the game into extra time, but after wrestling back possession, it all ended rather suddenly.

Botica, son of former dual code New Zealand international Frano Botica, joins Montpellier next season. In fact as of today, he is now a Montpellier player, part of the new defending champions.

It added another dimension to the bizarre circumstances surrounding the brain explosion that left viewers, fans and teammates absolutely gobsmacked.

Botica soon realised what he’d done, punching the turf and holding his head in his hands before being consoled by teammates, who to be fair, were equally in shock.

Botica’s inexplicable clearance downfield sent twitter into overdrive, with a mix of shocked, angry, amusing and sympathetic tweets. Not too many of the latter, it must be said.

Craig Chalmers, former Scottish and British & Irish Lions player was in shock, while Samoan prop James Johnston was a bit more understanding.

Today Botica tweeted his apologies, and a bit of a farewell message to the club.

But as many fans have pointed out, adding to the misery, this isn’t the first time Botica has done this type of thing. In a Premiership match against Northampton Saints he kicked the ball away with time up, giving Saints possession that led to a Ben Foden winning try.

Montpellier are an incredibly powerful unit who were deserving winners, so to be fair Botica should not be solely to blame for the loss, however fans were understandably dismayed with the way the match ended, just as Harlequins had momentum and a chance at glory.

Congratulations to White and the whole Montpellier squad who are set to be a real force in the years to come, both in Europe and France’s Top 14.

MATCH HIGHLIGHTS: (not available in some regions. External link here)

20 Comments

  •  drg
    drg
    8:55 AM 19/05/2016

    But granted it was a team loss, mistakes made at any minute of the game are as important as this one!

    Reply
  •  drg
    drg
    8:52 AM 19/05/2016

    I suppose it was the fact it was a seemingly random kick that even shocked Botica himself.... I guess everyone is thinking 'what if'..... They might have less than 10% chance, but definitely 0% when kicking it away....

    Reply
  •  katman
    katman
    10:44 AM 17/05/2016

    I suspect Jake White is proving some kind of point here with Bok surplus/reject players.

    Reply
  •  eddie-g
    eddie-g
    8:07 PM 16/05/2016

    Yep. I feel bad for the bloke here. We all have these moments, a complete brain fail forgetting what we're supposed to do, very few of us have them on live TV in front of millions. The great thing about this game though, is that you know his team-mates will have been the first to tell him it wasn't his fault they lost. And then they'll take a trip to the drinker and rag him about it.

    Reply
  •  jamesste
    jamesste
    7:00 PM 16/05/2016

    DC becomes human once he plays for French clubs, allowing Farrell to outshine him. Argh.

    Reply
  •  jamesste
    jamesste
    6:55 PM 16/05/2016

    Sadly I have to agree with you on the state of the French XV. The clubs rule the roost in France and the level of French players is dropping. Toulon / Montpellier finals in the years to come with the odd Frenchman having a run on the domestic away games. But as to the video, did Quins really think they were going to convert a try in the last minute when they had not looked like scoring all day? Botica is not responsible for the loss, his error only put them out of their misery 15-20 seconds sooner.

    Reply
  •  10stonenumber10
    10stonenumber10
    5:07 PM 16/05/2016

    It's a bit like that Ronan O'Gara penalty on the Lions tour. Geezer just had his skull caved in by a Pierre Spies knee, pops up again, remembers he is playing rugby, goes for an up and under, and in his brain-blasted confusion hit the guy in the air. Was he responsible for the mistake? Yes. Was he responsible for The Lions losing? No. Was he aware that it was the dying seconds? Probably not until he saw the penalty fly over while hoping the post padding would swallow him whole. These guys are human. Humans make mistakes. I've still got my reservations about DC though. He would have somehow scored an 8 pointer.

    Reply
  •  dancarter
    dancarter
    1:59 PM 16/05/2016

    I'd say Fofana and Guirado are world class, in the sense that they are in the top 3 players in their position worldwide imo.

    Reply
  •  stroudos
    stroudos
    9:53 AM 16/05/2016

    Exactly. Before watching the video here, based on what I'd heard I was expecting to see the score at 19-all when he kicked it out. These so-called fans and pundits are making a massive reach in assuming that Quins would definitely have scored a converted try from there. If there's one thing that has no place in such a team-oriented game as rugby, it's scapegoating of individuals.

    Reply
  •  oliver
    oliver
    9:08 AM 16/05/2016

    Nope, it's not you. It has definitely gone too far and a lot of French fans lament the fact that the WC fiasco hasn't taught us a lesson....

    Reply
  •  10stonenumber10
    10stonenumber10
    10:54 PM 15/05/2016

    Poor guy. On the whole he has played well for Quins, but as a 10, one mistake can quite literally cost the game. But let's face the facts here. He kicked away possession. He didn't throw away an overlap. He didn't miss a straightforward penalty. He didn't throw an interception. Quins simply had possession in their own half. With the greatest of respect to the team, if they haven't been scoring 40 phase mistake less tries from within their own half all season, why would they in the 81st minute of a euro game? Yeah, he kicked away possession, a stupid decision, but the likelihood of them (or any team) making it 60m without a knock on, offside, holding on or turnover is slimmer than his chances of signing a contract next season

    Reply
  •  benny
    benny
    9:31 PM 15/05/2016

    Pressure does some strange things to people. The body reacts faster than the mind. Even on the weekend we saw Sunwolves kick for the corner rather than take 3 to win the game with a few minutes to go. Hurricanes I believe it was also kicked possession away with a few seconds left, which almost cost them the bonus point.

    Reply
  •  danknapp
    danknapp
    9:22 PM 15/05/2016

    I expect it, sadly, means their national team will continue to go south. Great young players just won't be getting into their sides, and they are only going to get worse and worse. Look at England's footballers: great club competition, utterly shoddy international team with no truly world-class players amongst their ranks.

    Reply
  •  finedisregard
    finedisregard
    1:04 PM 15/05/2016

    Double agent, obviously.

    Reply
  •  drg
    drg
    12:45 PM 15/05/2016

    Ballkick-gate..... The latest rugby controversy....

    Reply
  •  mozz87
    mozz87
    11:09 AM 15/05/2016

    Oops. Poor lad. Unless it was a cunning way to win favour with his soon-to-be team mates I guess he just had one of those brain fades! It's true though, he's taking the blame for a lot of poor play. Unrelated note: the Montpellier starting XV contained only 3 French players. Is it just me or has the French gallactico thing just gone a bit too far...?

    Reply
  •  colombes
    colombes
    2:22 AM 15/05/2016

    Bloody frenchs.

    Reply
  •  danknapp
    danknapp
    10:59 PM 14/05/2016

    I've seen a fair few brain farts on a rugby pitch before, but this was the first time I've seen someone follow through...

    Reply
  •  welshosprey
    welshosprey
    10:21 PM 14/05/2016

    Guaranteeing his new team is qualified for the champions cup next year. Suspicious to say the least.

    Reply
  •  jimmy23
    jimmy23
    7:52 PM 14/05/2016

    "F*#K!" indeed Dr. Roberts

    Reply


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Ben Botica inexplicably kicks the ball away as Harlequins attempt late comeback in final | RugbyDump - Rugby News & Videos