Frano Botica

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Frano Botica
Full name Frano Michael Botica
Date of birth (1963-08-03) 3 August 1963 (age 52)
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)
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)
New Zealand
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]

Club career[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.

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.

Frano Botica played Stand-off/Five-eighth, and scored 2-conversions and a drop goal in Wigan's 5-4 victory over St. Helens in the 1992 Lancashire Cup final during the 1992–93 season at Knowsley Road, St. Helens on Sunday 18 October 1992.[2]

Frano Botica played Stand-off/Five-eighth, and scored 3-conversions in Wigan's 15-8 victory over Bradford Northern in the 1992–93 Regal Trophy final during the 1992–93 season at Elland Road, Leeds on Saturday 23 January 1993,[3] played Stand-off/Five-eighth, and scored a conversion in the 2-33 defeat by Castleford in the 1993–94 Regal Trophy final during the 1993–94 season at Elland Road, Leeds on Saturday 22 January 1994, and played Stand-off/Five-eighth, and scored a try and 8-conversions in the 40-10 victory over Warrington in the 1994–95 Regal Trophy final during the 1994–95 season at Alfred McAlpine Stadium, Huddersfield on Saturday 28 January 1995,[4] Frano Botica holds the record for the most conversions in a Regal Trophy (or precursors) final with 8-conversions, and holds the record for the most points in a Regal Trophy (or precursors) final with 16-points.

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 travelled to Australia to watch the game. Known as a deadly accurate goal kicker, Botica kicked four goals from four attempts on the night.

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.[5] He returned to New Zealand to play for the Auckland Warriors during their inaugural year in 1995, before returning to England to play for the Castleford Tigers in 1996.[6]


Botica played in seven internationals for New Zealand between 1991 and 1993.

He made his test debut at Fullback against France at Carlaw Park in Auckland on 13 June 1991, kicking eight goals as the Kiwis thrashed the visitors 60-6. He then backed that up with a 6-goal performance in the second test in Christchurch. His selection had seen him flown in from England for the series after a dispute between the New Zealand Rugby League and Manly-Warringah over compensation saw in-form test incumbent Matthew Ridge become unavailable. This dispute, and his own solid form, saw Botica keep his spot for the first test of the 1991 Trans-Tasman Test series against Australia in Melbourne where he kicked four goals and helped the Kiwis to a shock 24-8 win over the Kangaroos. Botica played fullback for the Kiwis in all three tests of the series, eventually won 2-1 by Australia who easily won the second test 44-0 at the Sydney Football Stadium before wrapping up the series with a 40-12 win at Lang Park in Brisbane. 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. Botica kicked six goals from eight attempts (75%) during the test series.

Botica's final two tests came during the Kiwi's 1993 Tour of Great Britain and France. He played on the wing during the final two tests of the series against the Great Britain Lions at Central Park in Wigan and at Headingley in Leeds, though the Lions, who had won the first test at Wembley, went on to win the series 3-0. He was not selected for the test against France at the end of the tour and would never again play a test for the Kiwis.

Despite eventually becoming a five-eighth in rugby league, Botica spent much of his time in the 13-aside code, including five of his seven tests for New Zealand at 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.[7] Botica's son Ben is a former member of North Harbour's ITM Cup squad, has represented New Zealand Schoolboys,[8] and currently plays for Aviva Premiership side Harlequin F.C.[9]


  1. ^ Lion Red Rugby League Annual 1991 New Zealand Rugby League, 1991. p.116
  2. ^ "1992–1993 Lancashire Cup Final". 31 December 2014. Retrieved 1 January 2015. 
  3. ^ "23rd January 1993: Bradford 8 Wigan 15 (Regal Trophy Final)". 31 December 2014. Retrieved 1 January 2015. 
  4. ^ "28th January 1995: Warrington 10 Wigan 40 (Regal Trophy Final)". 31 December 2014. Retrieved 1 January 2015. 
  5. ^ "RECORDS" at
  6. ^ Will our home-grown talent win the battle with foreign imports? Yorkshire Post, 9 February 2009
  7. ^ Premiers stopped – Vodafone Warriors 26, Manly 24 Warriors Official Site, 22 March 2009
  8. ^ "Botica Jr lines up for Harbour". The Dominion Post. 25 August 2009. Retrieved 20 November 2011. 
  9. ^ "VERSATILE, YOUNG NEW ZEALAND BACK SIGNS FOR HARLEQUINS". []. 17 April 2012. Retrieved 17 April 2012. 

External links[edit]