Frano Botica

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Frano Botica
Full name Frano Michael Botica
Date of birth (1963-08-03) 3 August 1963 (age 51)
Place of birth Mangakino, New Zealand
Height 175 cm (5 ft 9 in)
Weight 75 kg (11 st 11 lb)
School Westlake Boys High
Rugby league career
Position Fullback, Wing, Five-eighth
Professional clubs
Years Club / team Caps (points)
1990-95
1995
1996
Wigan
Auckland
Castleford
179
5
21
1931
46
190
correct as of 12 May 2013.
National teams
Years Club / team Caps (points)
1991–93 New Zealand 7 50
correct as of 12 May 2013.
Rugby union career
Playing career
Position Five-eighth
Professional / senior clubs
Years Club / team Caps (points)
North Shore
Provincial/State sides
Years Club / team Caps (points)
North Harbour
Super Rugby
Years Club / team Caps (points)
1998 Chiefs 1
National team(s)
Years Club / team Caps (points)
1986-1989
1998-2001
New Zealand
Croatia
27 123

Frano Michael Botica (born 3 August 1963) is a former rugby union and rugby league player. Born in Mangakino, New Zealand, he represented New Zealand at both codes, and also played for Croatia in a rugby union World Cup qualifying match.

Rugby union[edit]

Botica played domestic club rugby union for North Harbour and Llanelli and spent a period in France. Botica also played rugby league for Wigan Warriors and Castleford Tigers.

Botica appeared for New Zealand Māori (between 1985 and 1989), New Zealand Emerging Players (1985), North Island in the 1986 inter-island match, the national sevens side in eight international tournaments between 1985 and 1988 and for the Anzac XV that played the British Lions in Australia in 1989. He even appeared in the Super 12: once for the Chiefs in 1998.

In the early part of his Rugby Union career he was a rival to Grant Fox for the All Blacks number 10 jersey. Botica was regarded as more a running player whereas Fox was considered a superior kicker and it was his rival who eventually won the selectors' favour, forcing Botica to the bench and restricting the number of Union tests he played.

He was a part of the first ever New Zealand sevens team to win a Hong Kong Sevens title.

He is ranked 5th in the top 5 North Harbour legends.[citation needed]

Rugby league[edit]

Botica joined the Wigan rugby league club in British league in 1990 in what was an exodus of All Black backs to rugby league including Matthew Ridge (Manly-Warringah), John Gallagher (Leeds) and John Schuster (Newcastle Knights). While at Wigan he became a prolific points scorer and the fastest man in the history of British league to reach 1,000 points.

In 1991 he played for the New Zealand Māori side in his first match of rugby league in New Zealand.[1]

During the 1991–92 Rugby Football League season, he played for defending champions Wigan on the wing in their 21-4 victory against the visiting Australian champions Penrith in the 1991 World Club Challenge played in front of 20,152 fans at the Anfield ground in Liverpool.

Botica played in seven internationals for New Zealand between 1991 and 1993, including an upset win over Australia in Melbourne during the first test of the 1991 Trans-Tasman Test series. Botica played at Fullback for the Kiwis in all three tests of the series, won 2-1 by Australia. His selection saw him flown in from England for the series after a dispute between the New Zealand Rugby League and Manly-Warringah over compensation saw the in-form Matthew Ridge become unavailable for the series. The goal kicking Kiwi fullback won praise from Australian coach Bob Fulton who proclaimed that he could play as well as any fullback in the Winfield Cup.

During the 1992–93 Rugby Football League season, Botica played at Five-eighth for defending RFL champions Wigan in the 1992 World Club Challenge against the visiting 1992 Winfield Cup premiers, the Brisbane Broncos. Brisbane became the first Australian side to win the World Club Challenge in England when they defeated Wigan 22-8 in front of 17,764 fans at Wigan's Central Park.

After the 1993–94 Rugby Football League season, Botica travelled with defending champions Wigan to Brisbane, playing at five-eighth in the 1994 World Club Challenge. Again playing the Broncos, this time at the ANZ Stadium in Brisbane, Wigan reversed the 1992 result with a 20-14 win in front of a WCC record attendance of 54,220 fans, including a number of Wigan supporters who had traveled to Australia to watch the game. A deadly accurate goal kicker, Botica kicked four goals on the night, all without a miss.

Botica set a new record for most goals in a season for Wigan when he kicked 186 during the 1994–95 Rugby Football League season.[2] He also played for the Auckland Warriors during their inaugural year in 1995, before returning to England to play for the Castleford Tigers in 1996.[3]

Despite eventually becoming a five-eighth in rugby league, Botica spent much of his time in the 13-aside code, including all of his seven tests for New Zealand, either at fullback or on the wing and fullback

Return to Union[edit]

When rugby union became openly professional, Botica returned to the 15-a-side code to play for Llanelli in Wales and then in France. And in the late 1990s he even played for Croatia in a World Cup qualifying match. In his late 30s he returned for the North Harbour Rugby Union in New Zealand and played several matches, mainly off the bench.

Later years[edit]

In 2009 Botica worked with the New Zealand Warriors as a kicking coach.[4] Botica's son Ben is a former member of North Harbour's ITM Cup squad, has represented New Zealand Schoolboys,[5] and currently plays for Aviva Premiership side Harlequin F.C.[6]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Lion Red Rugby League Annual 1991 New Zealand Rugby League, 1991. p.116
  2. ^ "RECORDS" at wiganwarriors.com
  3. ^ Will our home-grown talent win the battle with foreign imports? Yorkshire Post, 9 February 2009
  4. ^ Premiers stopped – Vodafone Warriors 26, Manly 24 Warriors Official Site, 22 March 2009
  5. ^ "Botica Jr lines up for Harbour". The Dominion Post. 25 August 2009. Retrieved 20 November 2011. 
  6. ^ "VERSATILE, YOUNG NEW ZEALAND BACK SIGNS FOR HARLEQUINS". [www.quins.co.uk]. 17 April 2012. Retrieved 17 April 2012. 

External links[edit]