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Australia 11:05 South Africa

Eben Etzebeth backed to be South Africa's 'enforcer' against England at Twickenham

Last Updated: 21/11/12 4:21pm

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Eben Etzebeth: South Africa lock free to play at Twickenham after disciplinary hearing

Eben Etzebeth: South Africa lock free to play at Twickenham after disciplinary hearing

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South Africa coach Heyneke Meyer was relieved to be able to include hardman Eben Etzebeth in his pack for the autumn Test against England at Twickenham on Saturday.

Etzebeth faced a disciplinary hearing after being cited for alleged contact with the "eye or eye area" of Scotland fly-half Greig Laidlaw during the Springboks' 21-10 win at Murrayfield last weekend.

Judicial officer David Martin decided the contact was accidental and the lock is free to face England.

"It makes a huge difference (to have Etzebeth available)," Meyer said.

"He is playing great rugby. He has shown himself against the All Blacks and Australia and he is close to being one of the best locks in the world.

"He is one of the enforcers in the team. Eben has grown a hell of a lot in the lineout. Suddenly he is putting pressure on in the position and his weight advantage is a big benefit in the scrums.

"In these conditions you don't get quick ball and Eben is great at the breakdown, he is a physical guy there and his cleaning technique is excellent.

"We were dangerous when we played England at Ellis Park (in June) because we got quick ball."


Meyer, the former Leicester director of rugby, does not consider England as a side to with a soft underbelly - at least not any more.

"He is one of the enforcers in the team."
Heyneke Meyer on Eben Etzebeth

"Looking back I always looked on England teams as great teams but I never thought they were so tough but when I coached at Leicester I was really impressed by their physicality," he said.

"Lewis Moody and Martin Corry and those guys are probably the toughest guys I have coached. My whole perception has changed.

"They always bring it physically. It will be a bruising encounter.

"The last three Test matches were really physical and that was at the end of their long season. Now they are fresh and we need to toughen up and put our bodies on the line.

"I have a lot of respect for their scrummaging power. Dan Cole, I believe, is close to being the best tighthead in the world. They have really good lineouts and defensively they are a good team."

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