Durban – Springbok enforcer Eben Etzebeth will play no rugby for the next three months because of concussion concerns.
Etzebeth, who has been in the form of his life, sustained his third head knock of the year in the Boks’ narrow defeat to England last week and his French club, Toulon, have stated that concussion experts advise that the 30-year-old must have a complete break from the sport for three months.
While nobody wants to be out of the game because of an injury cloud, if ever a player deserved a break it is Etzebeth, who put in a monster shift for his country this year, playing in 12 of the Boks’ 13 Tests and playing most of the 80-minutes of those games.
When the World Rugby Player of the Year nominations came out earlier this month and Etzebeth’s name was not among them, there was outrage in many quarters and he responded in the best possible way by playing magnificently against England.
Etzebeth is just three Tests short of his 100th cap for South Africa and having only just turned 30, he is hardly old for a tight forward. If he is properly looked after, he should overtake another great Bok lock, Victor Matfield as South Africa’s most capped player (127).
He is likely to achieve his 100 cap milestone in June next year when Wales play three Tests in South Africa.
But for now, Etzebeth deserves to have his feet up and his club could not have put it better: “Rugby Club Toulonnais wishes Eben Etzebeth a speedy recovery.”