Rugby Championship

Rassie to pick Etzebeth despite lack of game time

2018-08-06 13:53
Eben Etzebeth (Gallo Images)

Cape Town - Eben Etzebeth, back in the Springbok mix for the Rugby Championship, is ready to start a Test match despite a lack of game time, says coach Rassie Erasmus.

The 26-year-old was included in a 35-man squad announced on Monday, marking is comeback from what has been a horror year injury-wise. 

Etzebeth missed the entire Super Rugby season with the Stormers due to a serious shoulder injury and played his last competitive match on December 2 last year when the Boks lost to Wales in Cardiff. 

But, speaking to media in Stellenbosch on Monday, Erasmus explained that he had no issues with Etzebeth's lack of time on the park. 

There is, however, a little more work that needs to be done to prove without a shadow of a doubt that Etzebeth is 100% fit and ready to start next Saturday’s clash against Argentina in Durban. 

"He has trained with us since the Stormers had their bye before their last (Super Rugby) match," Erasmus said.

"He has done every single physical thing. He is functionally up there and definitely one of the fittest guys in the squad, that I can promise you, just by looking at his stats and the way he has trained. 

"We still have to get the last medical box ticked in terms of the specialist signing him off, but I'm pretty sure we'll get that.

"He has had almost a full pre-season with us now, so I would select him straight up if he got that clearance.

"The lack of game time doesn't bother me because we have simulated a lot of that at training."

His return is an obvious boost to the Boks as plans for the 2019 World Cup continue, though it does cause some complications in terms of team selection ahead of next weekend. 

Franco Mostert and RG Snyman were both impressive against England in June, while Pieter-Steph du Toit might also possibly be moved back to lock now that Francois Louw and Warren Whiteley are in the loose forward mix. 

Read more on:    springboks  |  eben etzebeth  |  cape town  |  rugby


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