Cape Town - Pieter-Steph du Toit and Eben Etzebeth do not want to be compared to Bakkies Botha and Victor Matfield as a Springbok lock combination.
The duo have formed a formidable partnership since Du Toit moved from the Sharks to the Stormers and will be looking to carry that form into the international fold.
“Myself and Eben have a special relationship. We are good friends and understand each other,” Du Toit told Netwerk24.
“I know people believe that success in a national team is achieved when you take players who combine well at a local level and pick them for international rugby. But that’s not always a coach’s plan, especially if you have a strong group of locks.”
Franco Mostert and Lood de Jager are the other locks in the Bok squad and according Etzebeth, there is healthy competition among them.
“It’s nice to play with Pieter-Steph next to me, but I do understand why we cannot necessarily always play together at Springbok level. I don’t want to be the national selectors who have to choose between the two of us and Lood de Jager and Franco Mostert. It’s an unenviable task.”
Du Toit and Etzebeth started together at lock in the Boks’ last Test against the All Blacks and will again do so against the Wallabies in Pretoria on Saturday.
Botha and Matfield, the two legendary Bok locks of the past decade, were also close friends but Du Toit said comparisons should not be made.
“Eben is not the bully and I’m not (only) the organiser,” Du Toit quipped. “For that, we are both too fearless. I also like doing a bit of the physical stuff. I enjoy helping out as a blindside flank and then one also has to be a bit of a bully.
“Myself and Eben are unique in our own way. We do not necessarily have to be compared to anyone else.”
The Springbok team to face Australia at Loftus Versfeld will be named at 13:00 on Thursday.
15 Pat Lambie, 14 Bryan Habana, 13 Jesse Kriel, 12 Juan de Jongh, 11 Francois Hougaard, 10 Morne Steyn, 9 Rudy Paige, 8 Warren Whiteley, 7 Oupa Mohoje, 6 Francois Louw, 5 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Vincent Koch, 2 Adriaan Strauss (captain), 1 Tendai Mtawarira
Substitutes: 16 Bongi Mbonambi, 17 Steven Kitshoff, 18 Julian Redelinghuys, 19 Lood de Jager, 20 Willem Alberts, 21 Jaco Kriel, 22 Lionel Mapoe, 23 Willie le Roux
15 Israel Folau, 14 Dane Haylett-Petty, 13 Samu Kerevi, 12 Bernard Foley, 11 Reece Hodge, 10 Quade Cooper, 9 Will Genia, 8 Sean McMahon, 7 Michael Hooper, 6 Dean Mumm, 5 Rob Simmons, 4 Adam Coleman, 3 Sekope Kepu, 2 Stephen Moore (captain), 1 Scott Sio
Substitutes (from): 16 James Hanson, 17 James Slipper, 18 Tom Robertson, 19 Kane Douglas, 20 Scott Fardy, 21 Lopeti Timani, 22 Nick Phipps, 23 Tevita Kuridrani, 24 Sefa Naivalu