Ross Roche

By Ross Roche

Senior sports writer

New Bok 100-Test entrant Etzebeth reflects on ‘special’ day: ‘All about the win’

There was also delight for hooker Bongi Mbonambi, who played his 50th game for the Boks.

It was the perfect night for the Springboks‘ youngest ever Test match centurion Eben Etzebeth, as he reached the milestone in style with a 30-14 win by the Boks over Wales in the third Test decider at the Cape Town Stadium on Saturday evening.

It was a fairy tale-like occasion for the 30-year-old, who led the team onto the field in front of over 50,000 roaring supporters in the city where it all started for him 10 years ago, and then put in a man-of-the-match performance.

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A huge fiery “Eben 100” sign greeted him as he trotted on the field, before he did a bit of a routine and was then surprised by his fiancé, Anila van Rensburg, who sang the national anthem.

ALSO READ: Eben on track to be greatest Bok of all?

“It was special. Obviously having my family here, having my dad in the stands and my fiancé singing the national anthem, it was all very special. But just getting the win, you could take that all away and just give us the win and I would have been happy,” admitted Etzebeth.

“I didn’t expect that (fiery Etzebeth sign). Whoever did that, thanks so much, it was a special day for all of us.

“I have a little bit of a routine before every game, so it was nothing new I did. Especially when I came out with the flames and singing the national anthem, I was just trying to take it all in. In a couple of weeks it will probably sink in how special it was having family here.

“So I was just trying to take in every moment and the most important thing was to get the victory and I am glad every guy in the team put their hands up tonight, they were exceptional.”

Etzebeth also had a special word for his Bok team mate Bongi Mbonambi, who celebrated his 50th Springbok appearance on the night.

“I just want to congratulate Bongi on his 50th Test match, he knows the way I feel about him and I’ve told him before that he’s a warrior and it was special for me to celebrate this day with him also,” said Etzebeth.

Glowing testimonial

Welsh coach Wayne Pivac was asked about Etzebeth and what he thought about him reaching the hundred cap milestone for the Boks, and he gave the player a glowing testimonial.

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“He’s a wonderful player. He’s a good leader. I think from the young man who started his Test career to where he is now, he’s added an immense amount of discipline to his game,” said Pivac.

“He’s a major part of this Springbok team and certainly when we were looking at the opposition his name came up quite a bit.

“It’s a sign of the respect that our team has for him. He’s a guy who’s played a hundred Test matches which is no mean feat in a country like South Africa where you have got a lot of talent.

“So I think he has had a superb series, he’s a wonderful player, world class, and we wish him all the best for the remainder of his career which I know will be a long one.”

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