Heartbreak hit the Springbok camp in the run-up to the Rugby Championship match against New Zealand in Auckland.
Captain Eben Etzebeth’s participation is in the balance after his father, Harry, died on Tuesday evening at the age of 69. According to reports, the 31-year-old lock can now decide for himself whether he wants to play in the Test or not.
He will be given enough time to make this decision.
Etzebeth was given permission to play his 100th Springbok Test in Cape Town last year so that his father could attend.
Condolences to Eben Etzebeth and his family after his father, Harry, passed away last night.
— Hendrik Cronjé (@hendrikcronje71) July 12, 2023
The fiery lock was named the Springbok captain for the All Blacks test on Tuesday. This could be the 13th time in his career that he leads the South Africans on the rugby field.
If he decides to return to South Africa, Steven Kitshoff or Lukhyano Am could possibly wear the captaincy armband.
Duane Vermeulen, who led the Springboks with great success against the Wallabies last weekend, is also included on the substitutes’ bench.
Etzebeth was recently named SA Rugby’s player of the year after his remarkable performances last year.
“Eben has been a Springbok stalwart for more than a decade and it is incredible to see how he is only getting better. He plays with maturity, while his leadership is also of great value,” Saru president Mark Alexander said at the time.
The star player made his international debut in 2012 against England in Durban and since then he has represented the Springboks in 110 tests.
In 2022, he was 12 times in the Springboks’ starting team, while he also scored a try in the South Africans’ spectacular victory at Twickenham.
He is undoubtedly a rugby player that a father can be proud of.
BREAKING: Sad news just in. https://t.co/taQWv0OJEC
— rugby365.com (@rugby365com) July 12, 2023
- Harry Etzebeth was himself a talented sportsman who, among other things, excelled as a wrestler and cricket player.