Etzebeth hails Bok lock stock

2015-10-12 21:25
Eben Etzebeth

Bagshot - One of the most difficult questions facing South Africa coach Heyneke Meyer this week is who to select at lock for the Rugby World Cup quarter-final against Wales at Twickenham on Saturday.

Eben Etzebeth and Lood de Jager have impressed in the second row in the absence of veteran Victor Matfield, who has sat out the last two games with a hamstring injury.

But now that World Cup winner Matfield is set to be declared fit, Meyer will have to drop one of his form players if he is to accommodate the 38-year-old in the starting XV.

Etzebeth, a year older than De Jager at 23, said both bring value to the side, if in different ways.

"They are both great players," he told reporters on Monday.

"Victor has a little bit more caps. On the field Lood brings it. His defence is fantastic and he is a good ball-carrier.

"Both players are good assets for South African rugby."

Etzebeth, a powerful defender in his own right, said he gets energised by the work-rate of second row partner De Jager.

"When I see that he makes a good tackle or he sees I make a good tackle, we want to equal each other. I enjoy playing with him."

The Boks have enjoyed time off since their 64-0 rout of the United States in their final pool match last Wednesday but regrouped at England's base for the tournament at Pennyhill Park on Monday.

Etzebeth said the team are feeling refreshed and ready for what is likely to be an intensely physical tussle against Wales, who beat them in Cardiff last year.

"It was nice to get a few days off, but from today onwards the focus is on rugby and what we need to do against Wales."

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