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The 'always a plan' American TV character Etzebeth likens Rassie to

By Liam Heagney
(Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

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Springboks enforcer Eben Etzebeth has likened his Test game boss Rassie Erasmus to a fictional American TV character. Prison Break, which originally ran for four seasons from 2006 to 2009 before the fifth season followed in 2017, was a serial drama that revolved around two brothers, Lincoln Burrows (played by Dominic Purcell) and Michael Scofield (played by Wentworth Miller).

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Scofield deliberately sent himself to prison to break his elder brother out before his execution for a crime he did not commit – and Etzebeth has now explained why the cunning character reminds him of Erasmus, the 2019 World Cup-winning head coach who is now director of rugby in South Africa.  

Appearing on the latest edition of Rugby Roots, the Jim Hamilton-fronted RugbyPass interview series, Etzebeth was asked for his impressions of Erasmus and the 30-year-old Springboks second row suggested that rugby needs more characters such as the South African boss in the game.   

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Eben Etzebeth | Rugby Roots
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Eben Etzebeth | Rugby Roots

“He is a special human,” began Etzebeth. “I can’t remember what (World Cup) game, but before the team came out for the warm-up he was kicking drop goals at the posts. He is just something else. He is just relaxed, he is just himself. 

“I mean, I love that, I love people being themselves. It feels like in rugby everyone is always the same, everyone has the same answers and if you look at post-match interviews, everyone always has the same type of (answers). Rassie is just someone new.”

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Etzebeth then referenced the rugby nous possessed by Erasmus. “If you take that away (his character), just his rugby brain, how he thinks about the game, how clever he is, it’s just on another level. He is just a mastermind. Obviously, you have got Jacques Nienaber, Felix Jones, Deon Davids and Daan Human, all those guys around him, they just work hours and hours and Rassie is… I don’t know if you watch Prison Break, Michael Scofield, he reminds me a bit of Michael, he always has a plan, always has a good plan up his sleeve. 

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“He is just good at what he does and the way he gets people up for games, it’s incredible and how he gets the best out of people. Like the head coach putting 20 videos of his bulldog on Twitter or guys like Joe Marler from another team as an example, just doing something different, a guy like Ellis Genge who came to the post-match interview with beer, that’s just nice, we need more of that in rugby. 

“Everyone just always wants to tick the boxes and just be the same and we need characters. Rassie is definitely a character.” 

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