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Eben Etzebeth. Image: X via Springboks

Home » Springbok star says Ireland was ‘arrogant’ during the RWC

Springbok star says Ireland was ‘arrogant’ during the RWC

Springbok lock Eben Etzebeth has suggested Ireland made a ‘big mistake’ by underestimating the All Blacks at last year’s World Cup.

02-05-24 11:31
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Eben Etzebeth. Image: X via Springboks

The Springboks are set to face Ireland in a two-Test series in July, and there is sure to be some extra intensity after South Africa’s Eben Etzebeth made some notable revelations.

During an appearance on the latest episode of The Rugby Pod with Jim Hamilton, Etzebeth looked back at the World Cup, and recalled several surprising encounters with the Irish players.

After Ireland beat the Springboks in a brutal pool stage match, Etzebeth stated that most Irish players were already overly confident of progressing all the way to the final.

As it turned out, the Irish were eventually knocked out by the All Blacks at the quarter-final stage.

“After the game, you shake the guys’ hands and probably 12 out of the 23 told me, ‘See you guys in the final’,” Etzebeth said. “My immediate thought was because of the way the logs worked, we were going to play France and they were going to play New Zealand.

“My immediate thought was, ‘Are these guys seriously not even thinking about the All Blacks in a World Cup quarter-final, playing against them?’

“That remark that they made – ‘see you guys in the final’. I just thought these guys were making a big mistake to look past probably the most dominant team in the last 20 to 30 years of Test rugby. Surely, they can’t.

“We would never say that because we knew we’ve got the host nation and we were going to have to pitch up to beat France in their backyard.

“It just felt like they were just so confident saying things like that when you know you got the mighty All Blacks coming up in a World Cup quarter-final.

“I think Frans Malherbe was with me and I said, ‘Í don’t know if these guys are riding a bit high’,” Etzebeth added. “Obviously, it is good to be confident, but you can never be arrogant in this game.

“You can have the best season and you can have one slip-up or one missed tackle and a guy puts you on your arse. That’s the beauty of this game, you are never on top forever.”

THE SPRINGBOKS AND IRELAND ARE SET FOR A BLOCKBUSTER BATTLE LATER THIS YEAR

CONFIRMED 2024 FIXTURES:

Saturday, 22 June: SA vs Wales (Twickenham, London)
Saturday, 6 July: SA vs Ireland (Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria)
Saturday, 13 July: SA vs Ireland (Hollywoodbets Kings Park, Durban)
Saturday, 20 July: SA vs Portugal (Toyota Stadium, Bloemfontein)

Saturday, 10 August: Australia vs SA (Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane)
Saturday, 17 August: Australia vs SA (Optus Stadium, Perth)
Saturday, 31 August: SA vs New Zealand (Emirates Airline Park, Johannesburg)
Saturday, 7 September: SA v New Zealand (DHL Stadium, Cape Town)
Saturday, 21 September: Argentina v SA (Estadio Unico Madre de Ciudades, Santiago)
Saturday, 28 September: SA v Argentina (Mbombela Stadium, Nelspruit)

END OF YEAR TOUR

Sunday, 10 November: Scotland vs SA (Murrayfield, Edinburgh)
Saturday, 16 November: England vs SA (Twickenham, London)
Saturday, 23 November: Wales vs SA (Principality Stadium, Cardiff)

Meanwhile, Etzebeth has said he is backing Siya Kolisi to retain the Springbok captaincy ahead of a busy 2024 Test schedule.

“Whoever is captain, things won’t change and our processes won’t change that much,” Etzebeth commented, as quoted by Rugby365. “When Siya was captain, you will get a guy that will speak to the ref about lineouts or when we get together, he speaks about whether our physicality or work rate is up to standard.

“I think that will stay the same… “Siya can still be captain. He is playing good rugby in France and I think he will always be a part of the squad. I would love for him to still be captain, but that is up to the coaching staff.