Etzebeth hits back at Mallett comments

2017-12-05 07:19
Eben Etzebeth (Gallo Images)

Cape Town - Springbok captain Eben Etzebeth has dismissed the notion that he should not be leading the national team.

READ: I'm not going anywhere, says Bok coach

Following South Africa’s 24-22 loss to Wales in Cardiff at the weekend, the captaincy issue was discussed by pundits in the SuperSport studio.

Former Springbok coach Nick Mallett questioned whether it was the right decision to make Etzebeth captain when Warren Whiteley got injured earlier this year.

“I thought again there was a missed opportunity in the leadership situation. Warren Whiteley is acknowledged as being the best captain of a franchise team in South Africa and he was outstanding when he captained the Springboks. When he got injured, Siya Kolisi, who is another franchise captain, was playing well enough to take over. I know there was a feeling that Kolisi had to nail down his place in the team first, but the form that he was showing would warrant having a look at him as captain in the interim until Warren came back. But least the Bok captaincy would have been given to a man who captains his franchise,” Mallett said after the Test.

Mallett said his comments were “by no means” a criticism of Etzebeth, who he called “a great guy”, before continuing: “But if you look at their personalities, Etzebeth is known for his physicality and ability to get stuck into the faces of the opposition. But you need be withdrawn from the impact situation to make clear decisions as the captain on the field. He also doesn’t look like someone who enjoys picking someone up off the ground or congratulating and motivating the people around him. Whereas Siya seems to thrive on that. He seems to play better when given an opportunity to encourage the players around him. I think he would have done a great job for the Springboks.”

Upon the Springbok team’s arrival in Johannesburg on Monday, Etzebeth was upset when probed on the comments made regarding his captaincy.

When told that the discussion took place in the SuperSport studio after Saturday's Test, Etzebeth responded, as quoted by Netwerk24: “They (rugby pundits) don’t always know what they’re talking about. I enjoy the captaincy a lot and I don’t easily let myself get distracted from the action. I always want to be intensely involved. I do what is expected of me and the captaincy is something that I embrace and cherish.”

Etzebeth left the field at half-time of the Cardiff Test with an arm injury.

The burly lock's arm was in a sling on Monday, with the player saying it was a nerve in his neck giving him problems.

He’ll be consulting a specialist in Cape Town to gain more clarity on the injury.

Read more on:    springboks  |  nick mallett  |  rugby


Read News24’s Comments Policy

Live Video Streaming
Video Highlights
Sport Talk
Breaking News

Previous Results

Date Home Team Result Away Team

Following the conclusion of the various end of year tours to Europe, who is your favourite for the 2019 Rugby World Cup title?

Love 2 Meet
English Premiership flutter

Take Sport24's "expert" tips at your peril...


The 2018/19 Absa Premiership season is in full swing. Will Mamelodi Sundowns retain their title? Or can one of Kaizer Chiefs, Orlando Pirates, Wits, SuperSport United - or another team perhaps - snatch glory from the Brazilians? Be sure to visit Sport24 for all the latest news!

Latest blogs

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.