Ross Roche

By Ross Roche

Senior sports writer

Etzebeth: ‘Loss against Ireland spurred Boks on to win World Cup’

The Boks will have a chance to get a bit of revenge against the Irish when they welcome them to the country for a two Test series in July.

The second Chasing the Sun documentary, which will chronicle the Springboks’ run to their second straight World Cup title in France last year, is set to be released with much fanfare by SuperSport next weekend.

It was an emotional World Cup journey and one that fans will be able to get an in depth look into, as they did after the first documentary was released after the Boks’ World Cup triumph in Japan back in 2019.

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Springbok enforcer Eben Etzebeth picked up his second SA Rugby Player of the Year award at the 2023 awards ceremony held on Thursday night, and was asked afterwards what his highlight within the World Cup was, other than winning it.

Important meeting

He explained that it was a moment that will be shown in Chasing the Sun 2, where the Boks held an important meeting after their 13-8 pool stage loss to Ireland, that changed the competition for them.

“That’s something that I haven’t really thought about, but I heard Damian Willemse say earlier that the week after the Ireland game changed the World Cup for us and I have to agree,” said Etzebeth.

“After our loss against Ireland we had a meeting which I felt inside of me that we really needed. That loss against Ireland really woke us up.

“In that meeting Rassie (Erasmus) didn’t have the nicest things to say about our performance, so we were all a bit down after it. But a day or two later we all realised that the meeting was necessary and that pushed us on to go all the way.”

The Boks will now have a chance to get a bit of revenge against the Irish when they welcome them to the country for a two Test series in July, where they will be hoping to break a three-game losing run against them that stretches back to 2016.

Proper Test team

“We are well aware Ireland are a proper Test team. They are one of the best teams in the world. They have been performing really well in the Six Nations and we haven’t beaten them since 2016,” said Etzebeth.

“So it is going to be a massive challenge for them coming here and for us as well and we are really looking forward to that.”

Etzebeth also admitted that there was a lot of excitement in the squad, as well as around the whole country to see the Boks back in action at home soon after their World Cup triumph, after they were robbed of that opportunity by Covid in 2020.

“The excitement is not just within the squad but also throughout South Africa because in 2019 when we won the World Cup Covid struck and the first time we played in front of our home fans was two or three years later,” explained Etzebeth.

“Now we can actually play on home soil in front of a sell-out crowd (soon) after we have been crowned World Champions. So I think the whole of South Africa is excited to see us live again and we can’t wait for those Test matches in South Africa.”

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