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Eben Etzebeth revists 'one of the greatest moments of my life'

By Liam Heagney

Trending on RugbyPass

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A discussion on how great this current Springboks team has resulted in Eben Etzebeth outlining how a particular incident in Yokohama following the November 2019 World Cup final win was one of the greatest moments of his life. The talisman forward is currently in Australia preparing for Sunday’s Rugby Championship clash with the Wallabies on the Gold Coast and as much as he was adamant the focus is all on getting a result from the match in front of him, he couldn’t resist dwelling on some warn memories from the Springboks’ last away match. 

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Not since the final in Japan 22 months ago have the Springboks played an away match, their six Test games since then taking place at home in Pretoria, Cape Town and Port Elizabeth in recent months behind closed doors due to the pandemic. 

However, the prospect of playing in front of fans next weekend had Etzebeth reminiscing about the last time the Springboks had a match with spectators cheering them on. “For me, probably after I got my medal I walked onto the stage,” replied Etzebeth when asked what memory stood out most from the 2019 World Cup.

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“Somehow in my eye line was my family and I just saw them and it was probably one of the greatest moments of my life, looking at them and having this gold medal around my neck with these people you had spent the last few months with and worked extremely hard to actually achieve what you wanted to achieve. That was special. 

“And then coming back to South Africa, going in the trophy tour and just going to places and seeing people all over from different cultures supporting the Boks, you could just see the happiness in their hearts when we drive past them. It was a great experience for all of us and something that we will remember forever.”

As fantastic as that achievement was, though, Etzebeth insisted past deeds weren’t influencing his thinking ahead of this weekend’s first meeting with the Wallabies since July 2019. “We have a good coaching structure and great players, so we always strive to get better,” he said when asked about the reputation of this current Springboks team. 

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“Winning a World Cup is great and winning a British and Irish Lions tour, which only comes around once in your career, is also great but there are more things to strive towards. The next aim is to have a good game this coming weekend. Our focus will not be on the past and what we achieved or what we can still achieve in the future. 

“Great teams when they are in the moment they don’t think about that. In 10, 20 years we can decide if we were a great team or not but for now it’s the Wednesday before a Test match, we have two more sessions left to be at our best for the coming game and that is what the guys are thinking of, that is what the coaches are thinking of, all the players. That is the mindset, focusing on this game against Australia.”

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Eben Etzebeth revists 'one of the greatest moments of my life'

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