Dirty player - Who me? - Etzebeth

Dirty player - Who me? - Etzebeth

Eben Etzebeth says, contrary to perception, he is not a dirty player. But make no mistake, he remains intent on 'getting stuck in' when he takes the field against France at Loftus Versveld this weekend.

Eben Etzebeth
Photo: Asics SA

The tough, burly Springbok and Stormers lock, much like Bakkies Botha, is seen as something of an 'enforcer' in the pack and his robust style of play often sees him -- fairly or unfairly -- targeted by opponents and referees.

 But, much like his predecessor Botha, he relishes the reputation and can't seem to understand what all the fuss is about.

 "It remains a perception in the eyes of the rugby public that I am a dirty player -- and it is exactly that -- a perception," he says.

"In over 100 games for the Stormers and the Springboks, I have only had two yellow cards. So I think I  control my anger pretty well," Etzebeth points out.

 While he is not shy to declare he 'can't wait to get stuck into the French' he is just as quick to underline the importance of discipline.

 "Discipline is always important. You don't want to stand behind your posts being three points down or give a yellow card away or too many penalties."

 "Discipline is probably one of the most key aspects of the game," he adds.

 But Etzebeth leaves little doubt as to what the Bok pack can anticipate in the chilly Highveld air at Loftus.

 "Saturday is going to be a physical encounter from No 1 to 8 and we know that.

 "We're looking forward to it. We're going to climb into their forwards and I think we're all very excited."

 Etzebeth says the Boks are focusing on fronting up as a pack and not targeting 'man for man'.

 "Luckily we have good coaches on board and they did their homework. They have gathered a good deal of inside information from some of our players who played in France."

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