Eben Etzebeth will lead the Springboks on the field in the Rugby Championship showdown against the All Blacks in Auckland.
The 31-year-old lock’s participation in the test was in the balance this week after the news of his father, Harry’s death.
Etzebeth waved the scepter on Friday during the traditional captain’s training session before a test and Zeena Isaacs (Springbok media manager) confirmed to AFP that he will play.
RNews reported earlier that this is a very emotional time for the veteran player of 110 tests because he enjoyed a very close bond with his father.
All Black coach Ian Foster meanwhile expressed his condolences to Etzebeth, while Sam Cane (captain) also sympathized.
“This is a difficult week for Eben and his family. As a team we would also like to express our condolences to the Etzebeth family. It must be very tough for him to be on the other side of the world right now,” Cane said.
However, he knows that Etzebeth will give his best in the match.
“We will see each other at the coin toss and then face each other on the field.”
This is the 13th time in Etzebeth’s career that he has led the Springboks in a test and he is undoubtedly the player who stokes the fire in the engine room of the South Africans.
He is now at the helm of a Bok team that boasts star players such as Cheslin Kolbe, Steven Kitshoff, Duane Vermeulen, Malcolm Marx and RG Snyman.
“Eben is a very experienced player who boasts more than 100 tests to his name, while he has also worn the captaincy armband before. He is undoubtedly the right person to lead the team,” said Jacques Nienaber in the run-up to the showdown.
He will undoubtedly want to pay tribute to his father with his game.
— Springboks (@Springboks) July 14, 2023