Wigan Warriors: Frano Botica states nothing could've prepared him for the conditions in England after first joining the club

Frano Botica says he had to quickly adapt to his new surroundings when he arrived at Wigan.

The New Zealand international moved to Central Park in 1990, and went on to cement himself as a key player in the successful team of that era.

Botica states he had experienced the cold before, but still wasn’t fully prepared for what it was like in the North West of England.

He said: “I knew absolutely nothing (about Wigan), except it was up near Manchester. I used to watch a bit of the Challenge Cup when I was younger but that was really it and that was only because there were some Kiwis playing.

Frano Botica says he knew very little about Wigan before arriving at the club (Credit: Russell Cheyne/Allsport)

“I didn't know where Wigan was other than that.

“I had to catch a train up from London to sign a contract. When I got here it was a misty, rainy sort of day, and it was freezing cold. I actually thought to myself ‘holy s*** what am I letting myself in for?’

“I can adapt pretty quickly to new environments so once I made the decision, it was a positive one and I was happy to get there. In the summer it was a bit warmer, but not a lot and it didn’t last very long.

“I had played rugby in Italy two years before that, I had lived in a ski resort in France when I was younger, so I was used to the cold, but it was a different type of cold.


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“Some of the games were the coldest I have ever been, but at the end of the day it’s your job, so you’ve got to do what you’ve got to do.

“The first time I dropped the kids off at school and picked them up again, it was dark.

“Fortunately for the players these days, they play at the end of winter and the beginning of summer, so it’s a lot better because the weather is much kinder.

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“When I first arrived in England, there were plenty of Kiwis in the area, so I caught up with them most weeks.

“We used to play cards every Monday. There were a few in the Wigan team over the five years I was there, so that made things better.

“My good friend Charlie McAlister was over in Oldham as well. It makes you feel at home having so many Kiwis around you.”