Terrifying South African star has earned a reputation as ‘scariest man in rugby’

If England want to have any hope of reaching the Rugby World Cup final, they will first have to get past the daunting prospect of Eben Etzebeth and the Springboks


There is a strong chance that England will defeat South Africa this weekend and advance to the Rugby World Cup final, but there is no question that the Springboks will be a difficult challenge for Steve Borthwick’s team.

England advanced to the semifinals with a nail-biting 30-24 victory over Fiji last weekend, while South Africa defeated tournament hosts France with one of the games’ best performances. Some have deemed Rassie Erasmus’ team’s victory over France, 29-28, to be the best rugby match they have ever witnessed.

However, with the victory against Fiji now firmly in the past, England has been gearing up all week to face the Springboks, the team that defeated them in the Rugby World Cup final in Japan four years ago. On that particular day, South Africa’s pack physically outclassed England, enabling them to defeat England 32-12 to earn their third World Cup championship.

Eben Etzebeth, known as the “scariest man in rugby,” was one of the players who proved to be crucial in helping the Springboks win the World Cup. Etzebeth, a 6’8″ powerhouse who is 31 years old, has played 117 times for South Africa.

Etzebeth was at his most destructive against France, helping to create a turnover that resulted in speedster Cheslin Kolbe’s counterattack try in the first half before touching down in the second half to score what ultimately proved to be a crucial try that gave South Africa the victory. South Africa has a physically intimidating freak of nature in Etzebeth who isn’t hesitant to confront his opponents for a brawl on the field.

Etzebeth got into a fight with 6’4″ Jamie Ritchie during South Africa’s 18-3 victory over Scotland in the pool stages, making the flanker appear little in comparison.

Etzebeth has never shied away from a conflict in the past either. In 2022, video of an enraged Etzebeth pushing Australia prop Allan Alaalatoa went viral on social media. At the time, the former appeared to be going to do major injury to the latter on the field during their international test match.

Umbro is providing England’s rugby team with their uniforms for the competition as they go for victory in France. The supplier has never before been given the opportunity to create the uniforms, which feature a classic white home jersey adorned with the recognizable red rose.


Eben Etzebeth, Kurtley Beale and Israel Folau
Etzebeth saw red following Israel Folau’s high tackle, which sparked a brawl (Image: YouTube)

However, once the dust had settled after the game, Etzebeth and Alaalatoa were all smiles, sharing a beer in the changing rooms post match. It probably also helped that South Africa won the game 24-8.

But it wasn’t the first time in recent memory either the South African lock has seen red either. Back in 2017, when Etzebeth sparked a huge touchline brawl when he went after Australian full-back Israel Folau after he tackled his team-mate by pulling him down by his hair.

Eben Etzebeth

When things got out of hand, Etzebeth, the Springboks’ captain that day, pushed Folau into touch before grappling with Kurtley Beale, the Australian’s teammate.

Following the incident, players from both teams joined the altercation in an effort to defuse the situation. Folau’s high tackle on winger Dillyn Leyds resulted in Etzebeth receiving a warning from referee Ben O’Keeffe, although he was not penalized.

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