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Ireland have at last reacted to the Eben Etzebeth 'arrogance' claim

By Liam Heagney
Eben Etzebeth gets tackled in last September's South Africa versus Ireland Rugby World Cup match (Photo by Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile via Getty Images)

There has finally been an Ireland reaction to the claim made a fortnight ago by Eben Etzebeth that the Irish reacted arrogantly after beating the Springboks in last September’s Rugby World Cup clash in Paris.


Appearing on The Rugby Pod with host Jim Hamilton during a late April visit to London to play for the Sharks in their EPCR Challenge Cup semi-final versus Clermont at the Twickenham Stoop, Etzebeth revisited the World Cup pool match that Ireland won 13-8 at Stade de France and he took issue with the post-game reaction of the opposition.

The 32-year-old South African talisman alleged that about half of the Irish matchday 23 that he shook hands with post-game in Paris said ‘See you in the final’ even though they knew they had to play the All Blacks in the quarter-final. He felt this attitude towards New Zealand to be very dismissive.

“You shake the guy’s hands and probably 12 out of the 23 when I shook the hands told me, ‘See you guys in the final’. Because the way the logs worked out we were going to play France and they were going to play New Zealand and my immediate thought was, ‘Are these guys seriously not even thinking about the All Blacks in the World Cup quarter-final playing against them?’

“So that remark they made, ‘See you guys in the final’, I was just like these guys are making a big mistake to look past probably one of the most dominant teams, or probably the most dominant team in the last 20 to 30 years of Test rugby.

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“I was just like, ‘Surely they can’t!’ I mean we would never say that because we knew we had the host nation and we knew we had to pitch up to beat France in their backyard. Yeah, it just felt like they were just so, so confident saying things like that, ‘See you in the final’ when you knew you had got the mighty All Blacks coming in a World Cup quarter-final. It’s good to be confident but you can never be arrogant in this game.”

Etzebeth’s allegation was branded bulls*** last week by Andy Goode, Hamilton’s show co-host, when he returned to the studio following a recent break and there has now finally been a reaction from Ireland regarding the incendiary claim of arrogance.


Guesting on The Rugby Pod a fortnight after Etzebeth had his say, midfielder Stuart McCloskey – who played just once at the finals and was in the stands versus South Africa – insisted there was no malice in anything said post-game on the pitch by his teammates. Here is how his conversation with Goode and Hamilton unfolded:

Goode: Now we have had some big things said on this podcast over the last few weeks. Jim was so far up Eben Etzebeth’s arse that you couldn’t even see his studs hanging out the bottom. But were you on the 12 players that apparently went up to Eben Etzebeth and said, ‘See you in the final?’ And have any of the Irish lads talked about that because I called bulls***?

McCloskey: I saw this clip. Like, I wasn’t playing that game; I was in the stands.

Hamilton: I love the denial, ‘I wasn’t one of the 12!’

McCloskey: It seems like a crazy thing that he was counting them, for one. That seemed a bit wild he was counting them out. I haven’t spoken to the lads about it. There’s maybe only Iain Henderson was playing from an Ulster perspective but I assume they were just saying it in a way trying to be humble in the victory kind of thing. Like, you guys will still be there because obviously they were a classy team, they ended up winning so they got the last laugh. But I don’t think there was any malice in it or arrogance on the guys’ behalf if they did say it.


Hamilton: That’s how we have worked it out in the end. I think it has been lost a little bit in translation. So I think it was done in the fact that we have just beaten you, hopefully we’ll see you in the final. Do you know what I mean? Like one of those.

McCloskey: That’s the only way I could see them saying it. I don’t think there was an arrogance from the squad’s behalf that we were going to get there definitely anyway.

Goode: Told you, Jim!

The interview then moved on to the Guinness Six Nations success that Ireland have been enjoying with Andy Farrell at the helm and the appetising two-Test series on the horizon away to South Africa in July.

Hamilton: Just on that, Stu, how has the Irish set-up been? There is loads of talk about Andy Farrell. You have not missed a beat after the World Cup. Just give us an idea of the different environments you have been in on what it is like with Andy Farrell at the top.

McCloskey: It’s been great. It’s been, apart from that World Cup quarter-final, an unbelievable two years for Irish rugby in general.

Goode: And the England game, don’t forget the England game!

McCloskey: That was a minor blip (laughs). Again I was 24th man for that game this year and it was an unbelievable atmosphere and England played unbelievable on the day. Thought we could have pipped them at the end but it was the longest Six Nations winning streak in a row. Obviously, we were disappointed not to win the Grand Slam again but you can’t turn your nose up at winning another Six Nations title really.

Goode: You’re right on that. Talking about Ireland’s games coming up, we mentioned Eben Etzebeth and the Springboks and what happened before. Massive tour coming up in the summer. Obviously, you will be hoping to be on it having been central to the squad over the Six Nations period. How excited are you to get over to South Africa if you get on the trip, when you get on the trip I can say, and how monumental will it be going up against the world champions?

McCloskey: I’d love to be there. I’d say it will be two unbelievably physical Tests. Eben Etzebeth seems to have an axe to grind against us anyway so I am sure they will be using that, they seem to do that well and get sort of that mental edge against teams so I am sure they will be using that sort of stuff going into the games and I sure they will be unbelievable games. Hopefully, the weather is good and it’s not too wet that time of the year in South Africa.

  • Click here to listen to the latest episode of The Rugby Pod with Stuart McCloskey guesting  

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Turlough 59 days ago

Let’s examine what might be irking the brainless E:

Up until 20 years before this coming Julys tests:
16 games: 14 wins for SA; 1 win for Ire; 1 draw

From 20 years until July’ tests Ireland V SA:

13 matches
Ireland won 8; SA won 4; 1 draw
Points scored
Ireland 261; SA 189
Ave Winning Margin:
Ireland 11 points; SA 4 points (away 3, home 6)
Away win record: Ireland 33.33%; SA 25%
Neutral matches 1: Ireland win RWC France 2023.
Last SA win June 2016 (8 years ago)

They boast 3 World cups in that period (they do boast).
The above record is not good, probably not much better than theirs against NZ for same period.

That’s why the dopey E is starting fights in his head. He will probably ship a yellow when things don’t go their way in the first test.

Andre 59 days ago

Goode is like a wet fart on The Rugby Pod and should be shoved aside. Jim knows what he is on about and can get on better without Goode’s nasty little cheap shots.

MattJH 60 days ago

Forget what was said or how many players said it.
That’s the only story worth freaking out over. The springboks are going to grow their game an awful lot over the next cycle and it’s not just the 19 disgustingly arrogant Irish players who refused to shake Ebens hand and said “see you in the final if you can cheat your way past France” who will find that out first hand.

Bull Shark 60 days ago

I hope Jim and co. Add this to their list of icebreaker questions they can ask all their guests going forward.

So we can eventually hear what everyone thinks about this subject.

“What do you think Ireland meant…”

Nool 61 days ago

He is 100 % on the mark. Malicious arrogance with a lack of respect for the other teams mostly the south. they must learn from True rugby nations like the Boks and Kiwis

Ace 61 days ago

It seems like a crazy thing that he was counting them

Are you stupid, mate? Anyone with more than half a brain understands that he meant “a lot” or something similar. Do you really think he was counting?

Goode: Told you, Jim!“

No, you banana. You said, explicitly, that the Irish players didn’t say what EE said they did. Even though you weren’t there. Even though you didn’t hear a word they said. M0r0n.

craig 61 days ago


Lou Cifer 62 days ago

“Hidden comments” all over the place😂 Turlough’s been a busy little boy ey🤭

Henrik 62 days ago

It certainly wasn't a rhetorical masterpiece coming from big E …. (just as a side remark: Eben is the better player, Siya by far the better talker - maybe that's why they don't seem to like each other very much) …. but could we please move on?

Diarmid 62 days ago

Man who wasn't there and hasn't held a conversation with those who were present weighs in on dead rubber debate and is presented as representative of the Irish Rugby Union’s spokesperson on subject he has no apparent knowledge of whatsoever.

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