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VIDEO - Etzebeth brings out the big mirror for Sharks

VIDEO: Springbok lock Eben Etzebeth took a candid and forthright look at the problems in the embattled Sharks camp and said there were no excuses for the poor performances that have been dished up by John Plumtree’s side.


Etzebeth is likely to feature in the United Rugby Championship game against Ulster at Kings Park in Durban this weekend after recovering from knee surgery he underwent early in February.

The World Cup-winning Bok did not hold back and said everyone at the Sharks need to step up and do better.

“We haven’t had a good season so far. There are no excuses really. I think we just need to take a hard look at ourselves as individuals and as a collective. I do think we work hard and there are plans in place,” he told reporters on Tuesday.

“But somehow we are not executing it. We really hope to rectify it for the rest of the season.

“We can get better in certain aspects and it’s not a player or coaching thing, it’s us as a union. Everyone just needs to step-up and we need to be better.

“We as forwards, we have a big job and responsibility to step-up in the physical department. I think we haven’t been great so far in our set-pieces this year.


“As South Africans we love that battle and I just feel at the moment we are letting ourselves down and we are letting the Sharks supporters down with what we produce on matchday. I think we can be a bit more physical on the field,” Etzebeth said candidly.

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The 32-year-old said all the Sharks can do for now is focus on the Challenge Cup as a top eight finish in the URC is not possible anymore.

“We’ve got a couple of homegames left, we will obviously target that. We want to target the Challenge Cup and see if we can go far in that competition and try to make the last bit of the season a successful one.


“The Challenge Cup is our way into the Champions Cup next year. I think a top eight finish in the URC is not possible anymore. Which is disappointing at this stage of the season already.”

Talking about the knee surgery, Etzebeth explained that it was a procedure that needed to be done as he had been struggling since before the World Cup. The challenge was to find the right time to go under the knife.

“I’ve been struggling with my knee for quite a while.

“It’s been going on since even before the World Cup so I had to fix it up sometime and I think it was the perfect break.

“It was definitely the right time now and I just missed two local derbies.

“It already feels better than before the ‘op’ so that’s a positive.”

Looking ahead to the game against Ulster at home this weekend, the big lock said he felt Plumtree finally has the opportunity to pick the strongest possible 23 players available.

“It is the first time this season that we’ve got most of our players playing. As a collective it’s probably the strongest 23 we could’ve picked so far.

“It will be a boost to have everyone back. It’s still a work in progress, we still have to put it out on the field. It’s easy to think about names coming back, but at the end of the day it’s what happens on Saturday that counts.

“For us and for me it’s about getting results and we are not getting that. So we as senior players, as youngsters and everyone at the Sharks, we have to put all that talent together and produce on the field.”


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