Rudolph Jacobs
Rugby Journalist
2 minute read
7 Jun 2017
9:57 am

I’m not angry and I’m certainly not dirty, says Eben Etzebeth

Rudolph Jacobs

The Springbok lock is known for having a bit of a short fuse but he insists his priorities on the field with be right against France.

Eben Etzebeth. Photo: Sydney Seshibedi/Gallo Images.

He has no anger issues and the idea that he is a dirty player is only a perception and far-fetched, insists fiery Springbok lock Eben Etzebeth.

The beast of a man, who stands at 2.04m and weighs 117kg, is considered an enforcer and the man to create the spark in the Bok engine-room.

And those sparks could indeed fly in the first Test against France at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday.

Also read: ‘New’ Springboks still embrace a ‘dirty’ phrase

“I enjoy the physical part of the game but in all my games for the Stormers and Western Province (over six seasons), I have only received two yellow cards,” said Etzebeth, who at only 25 has already amassed 54 Bok Test caps since his 2012 debut against England.

“I think I control my anger well enough and hopefully again on Saturday, but I will have seven other forwards around me who will also help me.”

Etzebeth has often been caught in the middle of a scuffle, earning him the reputation of a fighter rather than a player.

Yet despite his obvious short fuse, the Stormers vice-captain is adamant his priorities on the field are right.

“I think it’s a (wrong) perception that I’m a dirty player and not something I really take too much notice of,” he said.

Instead, Etzebeth is steadily trying to show his worth as a leader.

Leadership and Eben Etzebeth is not two words often one would even imagine using in the same sentence.

But he says he enjoys the added responsibility.

“I enjoy a leadership role and I’ve had the privilege to captain the Stormers on a few occasions this year,” said Etzebeth.

“And now being at the Boks and part of the leadership group is a massive responsibility and I’m glad to form part of that.”

He’s also more than willing to assist new Bok captain Warren Whiteley in cultivating a strong team culture.

“I think last year in Adriaan Strauss we had a tremendous captain and this year again in Warren. They both knew what they had to do and they are both incredible leaders and we as a team follow them. But there’s also a leadership core around the captain which helps.”

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