Vision of Springbok lock Eben Etzebeth getting into an altercation with his Toulon teammate while warming up before a Top 14 game has surprised even South African supporters.
Etzebeth has long been known to get into scraps with opposition players throughout his career, with the Toulon lock taking on the ‘enforcer’ role with his teams in the past. He famously came to blows with Scotland lock Jim Hamilton, was involved in the ‘hair-pulling’ episode with Wallaby Israel Folau, and has been in verbal altercations with the likes of Julian Savea, Brodie Retallick, Tomas Lavanini.
Before Toulon’s game against Sale Sharks at Stade Mayol, Etzebeth took exception to the grip that his teammate had on his shirt while they completed a mauling exercise. His teammate had seemingly tripped over, grabbing Etzebeth to stop falling over. The halfback holding the tackle bag was violently pulled by Etzebeth before the ex-Stormer locked horns with the halfback in a staredown.
Etzebeth’s short but startling outbreak stunned fellow teammates watching who were walking away but turned back to see the commotion looking confused at what was going on.
South African fans were also surprised by the behaviour, with fans saying that Eben ‘seems to have anger issues’ while another told him he needs ‘to relax’ as ‘it’s a tackle shield with a 5ft man behind it’.
Another fan pointed out it seems to be a regular occurrence for South African players in France, pointing to Bismarck Du Plessis. South African writer Ryan Vrede wrote ‘so much anger in this guy’ about the incident.
— Darren Carlson (@darrencarlson_) December 15, 2020
Eben seems to have anger issues Nienaber mentions him ku Chasing the sun, there's also that racism case https://t.co/hCgxcuhx2D
— Jikimali (@Msimbothi_) December 15, 2020
— Mandilake Ponco (@Mandilake13) December 15, 2020
Eben must relax!! it’s a bloody tackle shield with a 5ft man behind it !!! ?
Hate team players like this https://t.co/6B5ZZ5TjdF
— Godfrey Ramaboea (@Godz14) December 14, 2020
Seem to be a regular occurance in France and Saffas….remember Bismarck not too long ago…
— TheYellowCapSports (@YellowCapSports) December 14, 2020
First rag dolling that play and now this. Send Eben back home. ?
— Bob the Builder (@BryceAllies) December 14, 2020
So much anger in this guy. https://t.co/fV5dcxAMsL
— Ryan Vrede (@Ryan_Vrede) December 15, 2020
In what was an unhappy day for the World Cup-winning second-rower, Etzebeth was injured during the match after he landed awkwardly after being tackled from a restart in the 44th minute of the European fixture at Stade Mayol.
His head collided with the head of Sale Sharks forward Jono Ross who was directly beneath him as he landed back down on to the ground. After being treated on the pitch, Etzebeth was helped off the field by medical staff and underwent a HIA, which he failed.
The lock recently extended his contract with the club after originally joining on a two-year deal following the World Cup. He was one of Toulon’s big signings last summer alongside the likes of Baptiste Serin and Sergio Parisse and they have been given the responsibility of helping the club return to the top table after languishing the past few years.
On the extension, Etzebeth said it was a nice place to settle down and find your feet. “I was planning on coming for two years but I will be staying longer. It’s nice to settle down in a place, find your feet. Toulon is a place where I can do that. Nice by the ocean, great weather, great people.”
Sign up to our mailing list for a weekly digest from the wide world of rugby.Sign Up Now