Eben Etzebeth

South Africa’s lock Eben Etzebeth kisses the Webb Ellis Cup. Photo by Franck Fife/AFP

Ex-England flyhalf implies Eben Etzebeth ‘couldn’t count to 12’

Ex-England flyhalf Andy Goode has insultingly suggested Eben Etzebeth misunderstood what Ireland players said after a 2023 World Cup game.

Eben Etzebeth

South Africa’s lock Eben Etzebeth kisses the Webb Ellis Cup. Photo by Franck Fife/AFP

Last week, Eben Etzebeth made headlines with a his recollection of an interaction with Ireland players after a narrow defeat over the Springboks in a brutal World Cup pool stage match.

“After the game, you shake the guys’ hands and probably 12 out of the 23 told me, ‘See you guys in the final’,” Etzebeth said on the latest episode of The Rugby Pod with Jim Hamilton. “My immediate thought was because of the way the logs worked, we were going to play France and they were going to play New Zealand.

“That remark that they made – ‘see you guys in the final’. I just thought these guys were making a big mistake to look past probably the most dominant team in the last 20 to 30 years of Test rugby. Surely, they can’t.”

Ireland was ultimately knocked out of the tournament by New Zealand in the quarter-finals, while the Springboks went on to win each of their playoff matches by one point.

Now, in a follow-up podcast, Etzebeth’s recollection has drawn a rather insulting response from former England flyhalf Andy Goode.

“I’m going to call him out,” Goode said. “I call bulls***. You ain’t counting to 12 or 13 straight after a game, son! I reckon if anyone said it they would have said, ‘Hopefully, see you in the final’. Meaning we know we are both going our separate paths now,” Goode added.

“And there is no way Eben can count to 12 shaking people’s hands. You’ve been in that situation where you are absolutely blitzed; no one knows what is going on.

“You have just lost a game. Your emotions are everywhere. You ain’t going, ‘One, two, three, four, five, Caelan Doris, that’s the sixth person to say it’. It’s not happening, is it?

“What I think they probably said is, ‘Hopefully, see you in the final’ or whatever because the Irish are good people. There’s not a f****** chance that they have gone there, and it’s been interpreted the way it has or the way it is in Eben’s head.”

*What do you think of these two differing opinions? Let us know by leaving a comment at the end of the article

Eben Etzebeth has shared strong opinions of late

Last month, England international Courtney Lawes made headlines when he delivered a chirp in the direction of South Africa and the Bulls.

With Bulls coach Jake White having opted to select a weakened side for a Champions Cup knockout game, Lawes questioned the thinking behind it.

“It’s a very South African thing to do, with the whole carnival around it,” Lawes also stated on the Rugby Pod. “Putting things out in the press that there are eight different flights, but I can guarantee you that it wasn’t eight different flights.

“The players got there at pretty much the same time, with the staff coming in at different times, but a lot of things were exaggerated. It was a great way of taking pressure off themselves, disrupting us, and getting us thinking about different things.”

‘Rather keep your mouth shut’

However, Eben Etzebeth responded to Lawes with his own emphatic point of view.

“The Bulls got a lot of criticism their way, and unfairly, I think. Obviously, I saw some players like Courtney Lawes mentioning something, and that’s a ‘South African way’, I don’t know why he mentioned the whole of South Africa,” Etzebeth said.

“He surely doesn’t know what’s going on in South Africa, so he must rather keep his mouth shut. It’s Jake’s call. If you’re head coach, you must be able to select whoever you want to. In the Champions Cup and Challenge Cup, if you reach the top four and you don’t have a home semi-final, then the chances of you winning that comp is really low,” Etzebeth added.

“They had to go away in the quarters and then probably go to Leinster and then play again in Europe against maybe Toulouse, so it’s always going to be difficult.”