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VIDEO: Eztebeth embraces leadership challenges for Springboks

By Marc Jacobson - Aug 18, 2017
VIDEO: Eztebeth embraces leadership challenges for Springboks

Eben Eztebeth, who has been named captain for the Springboks in Warren Whiteley’s absence, said at the captain’s presser on Friday at the Garden Court Hotel, that the added responsibility of his role as leader has resonated with the squad in their two-week preparation in Port Elizabeth.

South Africa are set to play Argentina in their first Rugby Championship game at the NMB Stadium on Saturday evening, and Eztebeth will captain the side for the second time after the third Test against France in June – when Whiteley had to pull out due to injury.

“I was better prepared this time-round as captain, and with other guys such as Siya [Kolisi] and Elton [Jantjies], it has been made a bit easier,” Eztebeth said.

“These last two weeks have been really great for us as a team, and Port Elizabeth has accommodated us well in our preparations.”

The big burly lock says that he is not the kind of captain who speaks the most, but instead tries to show his leadership through more positive actions.

“This is definitely something new for me, so we will have to see on Saturday. But I’m also lucky I have a guy like Elton outside of me on the field, who is pretty good with his mouth,” Eztebeth added.

“I knew in the beginning when we first assembled that I was on the cards as one of the leaders, alongside Warren, Elton, Siya and Beast [Mtawarira], who were all part of this leadership group.”

“It’s really awesome and privilege to be named captain, but I’m also privileged to have these other leaders outside of me."

Of their opposition on Saturday against the Argentineans, Eztebeth proclaims that he expects a typical physical encounter – a staple rendition between the countries in recent years.

“We all always know Argentina as a really physical side, but we just need to focus on our preparations,” he said.

“Against Argentina there’s always a big battle amongst the forwards, specifically amongst the tight five, and they have a good loose trio too. We as forwards had a couple of video sessions in the week, and the guys are looking forward to the challenge.”

Watch to get a view of the Springboks at practise at the NMB Stadium, as well as Eztebeth’s briefing with the media on Friday.