The impact that experienced Springboks lock Eben Etzebeth provides to South Africa cannot be questioned, especially given his output at the international level last year. The towering second-rower was at his physically aggressive best as he narrowed in on a century of test matches throughout 2021. Epitomising what it takes to be a hard man at the elite level of the game, no opposition forward was safe from Etzebeth’s wrath as he stamped his authority to remain among game’s the elite locks.
Etzebeth stands tall at 6ft 8ins and weighs over 19 stone, making him the heaviest player on the South African team. The circumference of his bicep is 19 inches, to put that into context, a rugby ball is 24 inches in circumference.
When it comes to gym time and training, Etzebeth can bench over 175kg, and he’s also had special dumbbells made for him that weigh 75kg as the standard one’s just aren’t heavy enough for him. He can also run 40m in 5.11 seconds, reaching a top speed of 17.4 miles per hour. To put that into context once again, Usain Bolt can run 40m in 4.64 seconds.
Eben Etzebeth is well-known for his abilities as a player, impressive skill, and towering 6ft 7in stature. His favoured position for club and country is as a number four lock, but he can provide cover as a flanker.
Eben Etzebeth was born in Cape Town, South Africa, in October 1991, and from an early age, he excelled in the sport and was earmarked as a hot prospect for the future when playing as a youth for his school team.
He entered the Western Province youth setup in 2009 and played with amateur side UCT Ikey Tigers in 2011, then played at a senior level with Western Province and the Stormers.
He also had a season in 2015 in the Japanese Top League with NTT DoCoMo Red Hurricanes. Etzebeth most recently signed for French Top 14 side Toulon following the 2019 Rugby World Cup, where he still plays his club rugby today.
Across his club career, Eben Etzebeth earned a fierce reputation as a hard-hitting enforcer. This is something that has translated onto the international stage and has been acknowledged by players and pundits alike ever since his first senior call up for the Springboks in 2012.
He played in the 2015 Rugby World Cup with the side eventually finishing in third place. Less than a year later, at the 2016 Rugby Championship, he earned his 50th cap for South Africa aged 24, becoming the youngest ever player to achieve this milestone.
In the 2017 Championship, Etzebeth was named as the new captain of the Springboks. Although he missed out on a large portion of the 2018 international season due to injury, he still made the squad for the 2019 World Cup. He played a number of games in this tournament and started in the final, helping South Africa to a famous win over England.