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'The bone actually came through the skin...': Etzebeth on the gruesome injury that gave Springboks fans a recent fright

By Liam Heagney

Trending on RugbyPass

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Eben Etzebeth has revealed details of the sobering broken finger accident that currently has him sidelined at Toulon and left Springboks fans on tenterhooks until they learned the South African talisman will be back in action in plenty of time for the Test series versus the touring British and Irish Lions.

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Lock hasn’t been the safest of positions lately for Springboks players, the injury to Etzebeth coming after respective setbacks at Sale and Munster for Lood de Jager and RG Snyman.

The injury prompted initial fears that Etzebeth might be in a race against time to be ready for the July resumption of Test matches that will see the Springboks in action for the first time since they won the World Cup final in November 2019.

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However, the 29-year-old has reassured listeners on the latest edition of The Rugby Pod that he will be ready to play again next month for Toulon – although the gruesome description of the injury made show co-hosts Andy Goode and Jim Hamilton wince.

“Almost two weeks ago in training, I broke my finger,” said Etzebeth at the start of his revealing interview. “Quite a weird accident. I will probably be playing three, four weeks again. Like with rugby, any injury is sometimes a blessing so the body gets a bit of a rest. There is still a big year ahead, otherwise all good in France. Missing the family back home with Covid rules otherwise it is good.”

Explaining how the injury happened, he added: “I just came on a line off 9. There wasn’t even contact. The ball and the guy it was almost like shadow. It was shadow rugby and ball and the guy in front came at the same time. I almost tried to catch the ball with one hand and stop the guy in front with the other and somehow my finger got caught. The bone actually came through the skin… so I saw it and I was like oops and I ran to the physio’s room and it got operated on the same day.”

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Etzebeth arrived at Toulon in 2019 after winning the World Cup and while he has enjoyed adapting to the French way, he expressed surprise with how well he gets on with the Kiwis in the club’s squad. “It’s been very good since I got here. The French guys all very nice, coaching staff, everyone since I have gotten here is all very good.

“For some reason, I have got on quite well with the New Zealand guys – the biggest rivals on the (Test) field. Last year it was Liam Messam and this season… Ma’a Nonu joined us. We get along really well. It’s just a good group. A good place to be off the field also, the weather is amazing, Toulon is close to Monaco and all those nice places.

“The only thing that is not as great now is Covid but that is the whole world suffering from that. Really enjoying it and we have built a new facility at Toulon, gym, recovery, all those things. Really happy here and I’ve actually got another three seasons left here, I’m here for the long run.”

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'The bone actually came through the skin...': Etzebeth on the gruesome injury that gave Springboks fans a recent fright

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