Springboks

Etzebeth ready to 'climb into' French

Eben Etzebeth (Gallo)
Eben Etzebeth (Gallo)

Cape Town - Springbok lock Eben Etzebeth has laid down the challenge to the French ahead of Saturday's first Test at Loftus Versfeld. 

With the Boks having started last year looking to be an expansive, ball-running unit, this year there seems to be a re-emphasis on playing to their strengths. 

South African sides have always prided themselves on being dominant up front with physical packs and a strong set piece, and listening to Etzebeth speaking on Tuesday, it is clear that the forwards are back on that level. 

"Saturday is going to be a physical encounter from No 1 to 8 and we know that," Etzebeth said in Pretoria on Tuesday. 

"We're looking forward to it. We're going to climb into their forwards and I think we're all very excited."

Etzebeth has, over the years, built up a reputation as an enforcer, both on the ball and off of it. And while he is not shying away from his physical responsibilities, he acknowledges that discipline will be crucial against France.

"Discipline is always important. You don't want to stand behind your posts being three points down or give a yellow card away or too many penalties," he said.

"Discipline is probably one of the most key aspects of the game.

"In over 100 games for the Stormers I've only received two yellow cards, so I think I control my anger."

Etzebeth is almost certain to start in the No 4 jersey on Saturday, with his most likely second row partner being Stormers team-mate Pieter-Steph du Toit. 

Kick-off is at 17:05.

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