Rugby

Sarries mum on Etzebeth move

2016-10-10 11:46
Eben Etzebeth (Gallo)

Cape Town – English Premiership rugby champions Saracens are cagey over speculation that Eben Etzebeth, one of relatively few genuine superstars in the current Springbok side, is set to join them after the Bok tour of Europe next month.

Sarries media officer Matthew Hennessey, upon inquiry by email, simply told Sport24 on Monday: “I’m afraid we can’t comment.”

It was reported in Afrikaans newspaper Rapport on Sunday that Etzebeth -- who is presumably earmarked just for a few weeks of service to the north London club as he is still contracted to the Stormers for Super Rugby 2017 -- will stay behind after the three-Test Bok tour in November (matches against England, Italy and Wales) to represent them.

That would mean Etzebeth linking up with compatriots like his former Stormers skipper Schalk Burger, as well as Michael Rhodes, in the Sarries pack.

Even if the 24-year-old second-row giant is only planning to have a few matches for the English outfit, it will dangerously mean that he largely sacrifices a second consecutive off-season.

Etzebeth spent much of the last South African summer, when most home-based players are taking a vital break and focusing primarily on conditioning, representing NTT Docomo Red Hurricanes in Japan after the rigours of the 2015 World Cup.

A spell with Saracens is likely to only have the effect of tiring one of the Boks’ major ongoing assets further; the muscular enforcer has already, arguably, shown some signs of understandable fatigue as the problematic Rugby Championship wore on for the once-mighty national side.

If the rumours of his Saracens deal prove true, he may well be less than sprightly, and additionally vulnerable to injury, when the Stormers begin their far more perilous schedule than experienced last year – in 2017 they will play the New Zealand rather than Australian sides in ordinary season.

*Follow our chief writer on Twitter: @RobHouwing

Read more on:    eben etzebeth  |  rugby
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