Saracens are in advanced talks to sign South Africa lock Eben Etzebeth on a short-term deal.
Etzebeth is set to move to England following his international matches in November.
The 24-year-old is contracted to the Stormers and the South African Rugby Union, but last year had a three-month spell in Japan during the southern hemisphere off-season.
South African sources have indicated a similar deal is expected with Saracens.
Etzebeth, who has 53 Springbok caps, is regarded as one of the best forwards in world rugby, and the deal would be one of the biggest signings in Premiership history.
The deal would have to be approved by SA Rugby and, if it is completed, Etzebeth would act as injury dispensation for Saracens’ former club captain Alistair Hargreaves, who was forced to retire this month because of concussion.
They may not all be “coining it” immediately to the extent that certain foreign-based colleagues are, but Springbok Rugby World Cup 2015 players contracted only to domestic franchises are about to reap the benefits of an unusually lengthy off-season.
In a development that ought to see them importantly start a heavy 2016 roster pretty firmly refreshed, both physically and mentally, those players are largely off competitive duty for the next 4 months.
Outside of a Rugby World Cup year, the month of November would normally see them packing bags – no doubt just a little reluctantly – for the obligatory end-of-year European tour in conditions likely to be wetter and colder than those agreeably experienced during the recent, more autumnal Rugby World Cup in those climes.
Instead the beach beckons back home now as relevant Springboks with extended international futures like Eben Etzebeth, Frans Malherbe, Lood de Jager, Trevor Nyakane, Rudy Paige, Pat Lambie and Jesse Kriel wipe rugby from their minds for several weeks, until Super Rugby 2016 pre-season activities with their respective sides.
Even then, blue-chip Springbok players are often shielded to a significant extent from warm-up matches staged in inevitably murderous summer heat and are largely asked to instead hit the ground running when the competition-proper gets underway.
His body language on match day is so often a dead giveaway, and Heyneke Meyer is the 1st to admit that he “stresses”.
So don’t expect the Springbok coach to be getting the best sleeps of his life in the build-up to Saturday’s Rugby World Cup quarterfinal against Wales at Twickenham (17:00 SA Time).
After all, he is facing arguably the most pivotal, “crossroads” game of his coaching career, when you think about it.
Not even the achievement of making the Bulls the 1st South African franchise to win Super Rugby in its properly pro-era incarnation in 2007 can be considered to rank as high in gravitas as this maiden knockout fixture at a Rugby World Cup for the very recently-turned 48-year-old from the Lowveld.
Unlike predecessor Peter de Villiers in 2009, Meyer has not had the opportunity to steer the Springboks through what might be considered next in line for heavyweight status after Rugby World Cup, a visit to our shores by the British & Irish Lions (next tour only due in 2021).
His tenure since 2012 has not yet brought the fruit of a Rugby Championship success, although he does warrant great credit for overseeing successive sweeps of European end-of-year tours in both 2012 and 2013, at a time of season when South African players are seriously vulnerable to fatigue.
Considering the unexpected degree of turbulence in the Springbok results column during the current season (including that Rugby World Cup-opening Japan shocker), reaching the semifinals of this tournament, all things considered, can probably be deemed as just about a “par” achievement for Meyer in his 1st exposure to a Rugby World Cup.
Eben Etzebeth remains the only worry for the Springboks as they head into their opening week of this year’s Rugby World Cup.
While the Springboks have been trying to downplay the extent of the big lock’s calf injury ahead of Saturday’s opening game against Japan in Brighton, Dr Craig Roberts confirmed that he is still on track to make a comeback against the Japanese squad, but that a decision would only be taken later in the week.
Etzebeth remains the only injury worry in the 31-man squad and has had injury problems before, but while the medical team has ruled this a grade 1 injury, and therefore not too serious, the question will remain as to how fit he is at the moment.
Dr Roberts believes he should be ready, but the question remains, if he cannot take part in training on Monday and Tuesday, whether he should be risked in the opening game?
A lot of that will come down to what coach Heyneke Meyer wants, especially after he indicated that there are 1 or 2 players “who need a little bit more work” and therefore might not play this coming week.
With the entire Springbok squad expected to be fit before the start of the Rugby World Cup, team doctor Craig Roberts says the next challenge is to get the players match-fit.
Roberts gave an update on the injury situation in the Springbok camp with a bout of ‘flu keeping captain Jean de Villiers and Bryan Habana sidelined.
“At this stage everyone will be available for that 1st game and it is our plan to have 31 fit players and up to the coach to select the 23 for that 1st game,” Roberts said in Johannesburg on Monday.
“It’s more illness at this stage than injury, but I am happy with our progress and we are still 2 weeks away from that 1st game and we are getting the guys into full-on training so I am happy.”
Eben Etzebeth had a light calf strain, but the towering lock is expected to be fit for selection for the Springboks’ opening Rugby World Cup match against Japan in Brighton on 19 September.
Long-term injury layoffs Duane Vermeulen, Fourie du Preez and Francois Louw all took part in sessions on Monday.
Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer on Tuesday applauded the work done by the national team’s medical, strength and conditioning staff to get the squad fit and ready for the Rugby World Cup.
Each member of the 31-man squad took part in most of the field sessions on Monday and Tuesday in Durban, including Duane Vermeulen, Jean de Villiers, Jannie du Plessis, Fourie du Preez and Francois Louw.
The training camp in Durban concludes on Wednesday and the players and management will get together again in Johannesburg on Sunday afternoon. The squad departs for England on Friday 11 September.
“We’re confident that all of the players will be fit to be considered for selection for our opening match against Japan in Brighton on 19 September,” said Meyer.
Springbok stars Frans Malherbe, Eben Etzebeth, Siya Kolisi and Damian de Allende have all committed their long-term rugby futures to DHL Western Province and the DHL Stormers.
Prop Malherbe, lock Etzebeth, flanker Kolisi and centre De Allende are in contention to represent South Africa at the 2015 Rugby World Cup in England, having all been part of the Springbok squad this season after stellar Vodacom Super Rugby campaigns for the DHL Stormers.
Between them, the quartet have featured in 61 Tests, Etzebeth leading the way with 37 Test appearances since his debut against England in 2012, with Malherbe (6 Tests) and Kolisi (11 Tests) making their debuts in 2013 and De Allende (7 Tests) playing his 1st international in 2014.
“Frans Malherbe, Eben Etzebeth, Siya Kolisi and Damian de Allende have all been developed here at Western Province, coming through our youth structures and going on to play Test rugby for South Africa as standout DHL Stormers and DHL Western Province players,” said WP Director of Rugby Gert Smal.
The Japanese Yen’s pulling power continues to lure Springboks to Japan for brief off-season stints.
Springbok lock Eben Etzebeth is reported to have signed for the Red Hurricanes and is set to join Springbok teammate Handré Pollard for a stint in Japan.
As is the case with Pollard, Etzebeth’s contract with the Japanese club will only be for 3 months and commence after the World Cup.
That would see him return to play for the DHL Stormers in next year’s Super Rugby competition.
Etzebeth’s contract with Western Province expires at the end of the 2016 season.
The 2nd Springbok that will travel to Asia, is Super Rugby sensation Damien de Allende who has, according to japanrugby.net, signed with the Liners.
De Allende will depart for Japan after the World Cup and return in time for the Super Rugby season in 2016.
Big-spending French giants Toulon are finding the going tough in luring Springbok lock Eben Etzebeth to France after this year’s Rugby World Cup.
Reports late last year indicated that Etzebeth could join Toulon as a replacement for compatriot Bakkies Botha, who is set to leave the reigning European champions.
The problem though for Toulon is that Etzebeth is still contracted to Western Province until the end of the 2016 season – and the union is reluctant to let him go.
Toulon boss Mourad Boudjellal has confirmed their interest in Etzebeth, but admitted that they are finding the going tough to attain Etzebeth’s services, with Western Province believed to be upset over the matter.
Lock Eben Etzebeth is back from his enforced week of Springbok rest and he will be joined in the DHL Stormers pack by loosehead prop Steven Kitshoff for Saturday’s Vodacom Super Rugby clash against the Brumbies at DHL Newlands (Kick-Off 17:05 SA Time).
Etzebeth was rested from last week’s defeat to the Toyota Cheetahs in Bloemfontein as part of the South African Franchises’ agreement with SA Rugby, whilst Kitshoff was given a break as part of the DHL Stormers’ rotation policy.
Etzebeth will wear the No 4 shirt this weekend, with Kitshoff lining up at loosehead prop. Jean Kleyn drops down to bench after starting against the Cheetahs, whilst Manuel Carizza will start at No 5 in the absence of the injured Ruan Botha (ankle). Kitshoff, meanwhile, replaces Oli Kebble in the No 1 shirt with Alistair Vermaak remaining on the bench.
Vice-captain Juan de Jongh has been named at outside centre, but he has been bracketed with Huw Jones after suffering a hip pointer injury against the Cheetahs.
De Jongh has made a better recovery than initially anticipated, but will still be given until kick-off on Saturday. Jones will start at No 13 should De Jongh not be available, with Pat Howard set to come onto the bench.
The DHL Stormers look likely to travel to Bloemfontein for their Vodacom Super Rugby clash with the Toyota Cheetahs without star forwards Eben Etzebeth and Steven Kitshoff.
Etzebeth is due a rest related to the agreement between the South African Rugby Union and franchise chief executives, and after playing 4 consecutive games, this is the time to do it.
Kitshoff has started every one of the 10 games that the Stormers have played this season and coach Allister Coetzee has for a while now been talking about the need to manage him, particularly now that the Stormers’ participation in the play-off stages is starting to look more likely.
“It will be a good thing to give Kitshoff a bit of a breather and get him ready for the rest of the competition,” said Coetzee.
Duane Vermeulen will assume the DHL Stormers captaincy, as well as the No 8 jersey, for Friday’s Vodacom Super Rugby clash against the top of the table – and unbeaten – Hurricanes team in Wellington (kick-off 08:35 SA Time).
The influential No 8 missed last week’s 21 / 39 loss to the Highlanders in Dunedin as part of the SA franchises’ rest agreement with SA Rugby, but he returns this week in 1 of 2 changes to the DHL Stormers 15.
The 2nd change, also up front, sees fellow Springbok hardman Eben Etzebeth take over the No 4 jersey from Jean Kleyn, the latter dropping out of the matchday squad altogether – along with Nizaam Carr, who did duty at No 8 last week.
On the bench, meanwhile, lock Ruan Botha will take over the No 19 jersey vacated by Etzebeth in an otherwise unchanged replacements’ unit.
Springbok lock Eben Etzebeth will not head abroad after this year’s Rugby World Cup, the Western Province Rugby Union has assured.
Reports in French media stated late last year that Etzebeth could join Toulon after the conclusion of this year’s World Cup.
However, Etzebeth is contracted to WP until 2016, which would see him stay in Cape Town until then.
The Stormers are sweating over the availability of Eben Etzebeth after the Springbok lock injured his shoulder in their 29 / 13 Super Rugby win over the Sharks at Newlands last weekend.
“Lock Eben Etzebeth took a bang on his shoulder against the Sharks which has affected his previous (chest) injury a bit, which is normal for 2 injuries in such close proximity. He is a bit uncomfortable and a call will be made on his participation later this week,” read a statement on the Stormers’ official website.
Etzebeth missed the entire 2014 Super Rugby season with an ankle injury, and was sidelined for the first 3 games on this year’s campaign following a chest injury sustained in pre-season.
Eben Etzebeth and Schalk Burger have both been named in the DHL Stormers’ 23-man squad for Saturday’s all-South African Vodacom Super Rugby clash against the Sharks at DHL Newlands (kick-off 19:10 SA Time, 17:10 GMT).
Etzebeth picked up a chest injury during pre-season action in late January and will make his first competitive appearance for the DHL Stormers since July 2013, whilst Burger, named on the bench, is back in the selection mix after returning from his club rugby commitments in Japan.
After 2 weekends of Super Rugby warm-ups played and looking at what was achieved and what is still lacking, the Stormers are of the opinion that there is still a lot to work on.
The DHL Stormers have also brought out a Fitness Report today, detailing what they have to deal with, at this stage of the season, before a single Super Rugby game has been played.
A critical element of Heyneke Meyer’s tight-forward plans for Rugby World Cup 2015, plus his unpredictable backline talisman… already under injury scares.
If you’d told Heyneke Meyer – presumably a long way from the untelevised encounter – before Friday’s Newlands friendly between the Stormers and Cheetahs that two players falling into those categories would pull up injured in it, the ever-animated Springbok head coach might have been excused for having kittens on the spot.
But that is precisely what occurred in the pre-season affair, won 39 / 31 by the hosts in an otherwise productive work-out for both teams, as Eben Etzebeth and Willie le Roux fell foul of the curse.
Oddly, the more alarming of the incidents, on initial viewing, appeared to affect fullback magician, Willie lLe Roux, during the 2nd half – and he had only got on the park off the bench for the start of it.
But with just 7 minutes remaining, the IRB Player of the Year nominee for 2014 collapsed in a writhing heap after being tackled, clutching the area around his left ankle. To watching spectators on the fairly sparsely-populated Railway Stand, it wouldn’t have looked good at all.
The Stormers scored a 39 / 31 win over the Cheetahs in an entertaining Super Rugby pre-season match at Newlands on Friday.
However, the Cape Town franchise will be concerned about injuries emerging from the match, with the real price of victory yet to be determined.
Two of their international locks, Argentinean Manuel Carizza and Springbok Eben Etzebeth, left the field before half-time and didn’t return.
Of the two injuries, Carizza’s looked the more serious.
Kobus van Wyk also picked up a calf injury, which does not look serious but would require a scan.
The struggles the DHL Stormers have endured through the past 2 Vodacom Super Rugby seasons may well be ascribed to the limited appearances made in the jersey during that time by the powerful Springbok second row forward Eben Etzebeth.
It is normally considered a stretch to suggest that one man makes a team, and it would be if you said such a thing about Etzebeth with the Stormers and Western Province for it is true that Duane Vermeulen is at least as valuable and influential. However that missing Etzebeth is akin to going without a clutch of players rather than just one is undeniable.
The statistics will bear out that claim too – in 2013 the Stormers were struggling when Etzebeth returned from injury. They lost the first match they played with him back, one in which they were robbed by the TMO against the Rebels in Melbourne, but after that they won 6 in a row. Last year he was out for the entire season with an injury sustained in the last test match of the previous year, and the Stormers struggled.
The DHL Stormers are slowly working towards full muster as the Vodacom Super Rugby season approaches, with another clutch of Springboks set to return to the team for Friday night’s warm-up fixture against the Toyota Cheetahs at Newlands.
The Stormers dispensed with the SWD Eagles 34 / 3 in their opening game in George at the weekend, but the Cheetahs, as fellow Super Rugby participants, are considered the toughest opponent of the pre-season phase. They are thus the ones the Cape side will consider to be the dress rehearsal for the real thing, which comes in the form of the opening clash with the Vodacom Bulls in Pretoria on 14 February.
The Stormers will play the Boland Cavaliers in another warm-up game before the Super Rugby season starts. However, with the game taking place just one week before the trip to Loftus, the normal policy is to include fringe players for that fixture, plus maybe a top player or two who would only then be fully ready to play after coming back from injury.
Western Province have brushed off reports linking lock Eben Etzebeth with a move to French giants Toulon.
French newspaper Var Matin reported over the weekend that the Springbok lock could join Toulon after next year’s Rugby World Cup.
The 23-year-old Capetonian is seen as an ideal replacement for compatriot Bakkies Botha, who recently retired from international rugby and will leave Toulon at the end of the current European season.
A bright sunshiny but chilly day greeted the Springboks when they arrived in Dublin on Sunday, where they kick off the Castle Lager Outgoing Tour against Ireland this weekend.
The South Africans left Johannesburg last night and travelled via London Heathrow to the Irish capital for their first visit to this part of the world in two years.
Eben Etzebeth stayed behind in South Africa and will join the squad on Tuesday following a family bereavement, while there will be more clarity on Ruan Pienaar’s fitness situation in the week.
Eben Etzebeth isn’t your average 22-year-old. South Africa’s young lock is viewed as absolutely pivotal to the team’s future.
That’s not a status which is simply handed out either. In his 27 caps so far, Etzebeth has seamlessly fitted into Test rugby.
We seem to live in an age of young locks beginning to dominate Test rugby; Brodie Retallick and Sam Whitelock, Courtney Lawes and Joe Launchbury, Sam Carter, with Pieter-Steph du Toit to come.
There’s little now at the international level that Etzebeth hasn’t experienced, including a prolonged lay-off through injury.
The Springboks made three changes to their starting XV, with two of them effecting the line-out structures – which already appeared weak in Pretoria last week.
The line-out has long been a strength of the Boks, and a lot of this dominance in the set pieces can be attributed to the maestro that is Victor Matfield.
The veteran lock was sorely missed last weekend when the Boks’ line-out struggled, in albeit poor conditions, against the Argentineans at Loftus Versfeld.
Schoolboy rugby in South Africa is taken very seriously, with high competitive standards. Rugby fans travelling through South Africa during rugby season should make time to see the stars of the future in action. The live entertainment and social scene at the main schoolboy derby matches will also appeal to non-rugby fans.
Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer has been given a massive boost with the news that he should be able to pick as close to his strongest side for this weekend’s Castle Lager Rugby Championship opener against Argentina at Loftus Versfeld.
Team doctor Craig Roberts cleared props Frans Malherbe, Tendai “Beast” Mtawarira and lock Eben Etzebeth for action and crucially also gave captain Jean de Villiers the all-clear to play this weekend after spending the last few months on the sidelines with injury.
There has been a late change to the DHL Western Province team for Friday night’s Absa Currie Cup clash against the EP Kings at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium (kick-off 19:10 SA Time).
At lock, Springbok squad member Eben Etzebeth will start on the bench, with youngster Jean Kleyn making his Absa Currie Cup debut in the No 4 jersey.
“We have monitored Eben’s workload at Springbok training this week, so we thought it would be prudent to start with him amongst the replacements on Friday,” explained DHL WP coach Allister Coetzee.
Two members of the Springboks’ Castle Lager Rugby Championship squad, Eben Etzebeth and Frans Malherbe, have been released to play in the opening round of the Absa Currie Cup Premier Division for DHL Western Province on Friday evening.
Both players are returning from long-term injuries and will be allowed some game time for WP to ease them back into the game.
Etzebeth’s last game was in November 2013, for the Springboks against France in Paris, where he picked up a foot injury. Malherbe has been out for more than three months with concussion.
“Following medical assessments and consultation between our medical team and those of the various provinces, it was decided to release Eben and Frans for this weekend,” said Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer.
Springbok and WP lock Eben Etzebeth has returned to full training ahead of the Currie Cup and Rugby Championship.
Etzebeth has not seen a single minute of competitive action in 2014 after first a foot, and later a toe injury, kept him out of the Stormers’ entire Super Rugby campaign.
After a long and arduous process he is finally nearing a return to fitness, but it remains to be seen if Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer opts to draft him into the Bok set-up immediately or allows him to get some game time under his belt with Western Province.
Want to know more about the Etzebeth legend?
Apologies to our foreign readers as the first story was printed in Afrikaans. If you scroll down you would find another in English.
These articles were written quite a while ago and is left just as it was published, so excuse the time frames. The author of the Terminator from Parow is Jaco Kirsten, who writes for the website meneer.tv
For those readers not familiar with the legend of the Etzebeths, enjoy these stories, those of us who grew up in Cape Town, roll back the years and take a trip down memory lane.
Stormers lock Eben Etzebeth will not feature in this year’s Super Rugby tournament after suffering another injury.
The Springbok lock has been sidelined with an ankle injury since late last year, but was looking forward to returning to action during the latter rounds of Super Rugby.
However, an official injury report released by the Stormers on Monday revealed another injury to Etzebeth.
He has a broken toe, which will keep him out of action for another 2-3 weeks.
Cell C Sharks backline star Frans Steyn is unlikely to feature for the Springboks in the June Internationals.
Steyn was one of 10 players who took no or little part in the field sessions at the Springbok training camp in Durban, which concluded on Wednesday.
Steyn has been suffering from a chronic knee dysfunction which has been managed by Sharks and upon a request from his franchise, the load on his knee was limited by keeping him out of training.
While the severity of the injury will only be confirmed later in the week, Steyn is expected to miss the June internationals. It is also possible that Steyn could miss the latter stages of Super Rugby, which would be a body blow to the Sharks.
DHL Stormers behemoth Eben Etzebeth was named in the national training squad for next week’s camp in Durban, but it now seems unlikely that he will play for the Springboks in the June Test matches.
The big lock was doing his own drills with the fitness trainer as the Stormers trained on Monday as he gets used to putting weight on the ankle that was operated on after last year’s Springbok tour of the UK and France. But after saying at the weekend that Etzebeth had an outside chance of being ready to play against the Sharks on 31 May, Stormers coach Allister Coetzee has now ruled out that possibility.
There was welcome news for the Stormers and Springboks on Wednesday when lock Eben Etzebeth was spotted training at Newlands.
Etzebeth, 22, has been out of action since injuring his ankle playing for the Springboks against France in Paris last November.
Lock Eben Etzebeth, who is sidelined with an ankle injury, should be ready to play for the Springboks in June.
The 22-year-old said he is hoping to return to action when the Stormers tackle the Sharks in Durban on 31 May. That would be the Cape side’s third last Super Rugby league match.