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Eben Etzebeth
Eben Etzebeth 2022.jpg
Etzebeth playing for South Africa in 2022
Date of birth (1991-10-29) 29 October 1991 (age 32)
Place of birth Cape Town, Cape Province, South Africa
Height 2.04 m (6 ft 8+12 in)
Weight 119 kg (262 lb; 18 st 10 lb)
School Hoërskool Tygerberg
University University of Cape Town
Occupation(s) Professional rugby player
Rugby union career
Position(s) Lock
Current team [[{{{tan}}}|{{{t}}}]]
Youth Career
2009–2011 [[{{{tan}}}|{{{t}}}]]
Amateur team(s)
Years Team Apps (Points)
2011 [[{{{tan}}}|{{{t}}}]] 7 (5)
Senior career
Years Team Apps (Points)
2012–2014 [[{{{tan}}}|{{{t}}}]] 7 (0)
2012–2019 [[{{{tan}}}|{{{t}}}]] 61 (20)
2015–2016 NTT DoCoMo Red Hurricanes 8 (5)
2019–2022 Toulon 40 (35)
2022– [[{{{tan}}}|{{{t}}}]] 11 (25)
Correct as of 12 December 2023
National team(s)
Years Team Apps (Points)
2011 South Africa U20 5 (5)
2012– South Africa 119 (30)
2015 Springboks 1 (5)
2016 Springbok XV 1 (0)
Correct as of 30 October 2023

Eben Etzebeth (born 29 October 1991) is a South African professional rugby union player who currently plays for the Sharks in the United Rugby Championship and the South Africa national rugby team. He made his international debut for the Springboks in 2012 and has since won more than 100 caps. His regular playing position is as a number 4 lock.

Club career

Western Province and Stormers

Etzebeth was marked out as a player of huge promise from an early age when playing for Waterhead Wolverines, Oldham, Coached by the great Geoff Owen MAC, and he entered the Western Province youth structures in 2009, featuring in the Under-18 Craven Week tournament. In 2011, his career moved up a gear when he was part of the [[{{{tan}}}|{{{t}}}]] side which won the Varsity Cup, however injury stalled his progress in the second half of the year and he was unable to play any part in the 2011 Currie Cup.

His injury didn't stop him from being named in the Stormers squad for the 2012 Super Rugby season. He recovered from injury in time for the start of the campaign and debuted on 25 February 2012 against the [[{{{tan}}}|{{{t}}}]]. In total, he made 13 appearances during the season and managed to score 1 try as the Stormers won 14 of their 16 league matches before eventually losing to the [[{{{tan}}}|{{{t}}}]] in the semi-finals.

International commitments kept him out of the early stages of the 2012 Currie Cup, but he returned at the tail-end of the tournament, winning his first 3 Western Province caps and helping them to lift their first Currie Cup title since 2002. He was awarded the Man of the Match award as Province gained revenge on the [[{{{tan}}}|{{{t}}}]] with a 25–18 win in Durban.

Injury ruled Etzebeth out of the first half of the 2013 Super Rugby season, but he returned for the second half of the campaign, playing 8 matches and scoring 1 try. He also won a team-high 47 lineouts and effected 8 steals on opposition throws. For the 2013 Currie Cup, Etzebeth was again missing for large chunks of the season due to Springbok commitments, however he once again returned for the final 3 matches of the season. This time he was unable to stop the Sharks from regaining the Currie Cup by turning the tables on Western Province with a 33–19 win in Cape Town.

The first 6 months of 2014 saw Etzebeth a foot injury sustained while on international duty in November 2013 ruled him out of the entire campaign. He remained committed to both of his Cape Town-based sides and in April 2013, he signed a deal that would keep him tied to Western Province and the Stormers until 2016.

Etzebeth was yellow-carded following a fight with Blues loose forward Akira Ioane in 2017.

NTT Docomo Red Hurricanes

In July 2015, he signed a deal to play for NTT DoCoMo Red Hurricanes in the Japanese Top League.


In December 2018, Top 14 side [[{{{tan}}}|{{{t}}}]] announced Etzebeth would join them after the 2019 Rugby World Cup. In January 2021, he made a start at Blindside Flank for the first Time after teammate Swan Rebbadj got injured prior to kick off.


In February 2022, the Sharks (rugby union) signed Etzebeth on a long term contract until 2027.

International career

South Africa U20s

Eben Etzebeth was a member of the South Africa Under 20 team that competed in the 2011 IRB Junior World Championship in Italy where the Baby Boks finished in 5th place.


Etzebeth was called up to the Springbok squad for the first time by new head coach Heyneke Meyer ahead of the three match series against England in June 2012.

He made his first appearance in the second row alongside fellow debutant Juandré Kruger on 9 June 2012 at Kings Park Stadium, Durban. South Africa were victorious by 22–17. Despite suffering from some injury setbacks along the way, Etzebeth has maintained his position as first choice in the number 4 jersey throughout his Springbok career. By the end of the 2014 Rugby Championship he had made 29 appearances for his national team and is yet to score a try. Uniquely he has made more international appearances than he has Super Rugby and Currie Cup appearances combined. He also debuted for South Africa before he had played any Vodacom Cup or Currie Cup rugby for Western Province.

On 23 November 2013 he was nominated for the 2013 IRB Player of the Year award along with Leigh Halfpenny, Sergio Parisse, Kieran Read and Ben Smith. He has very impressive upper body strength for a man of his huge height and young age, being able to bench press 385 pounds (175 kg), and perform incline dumbbell chest presses with 175 pounds (79 kg) dumbbells as of 2018.

Etzebeth was selected by the Springboks in the 31-man squad for the 2015 Rugby World Cup, making an appearance in every one of the team's pool matches, including one off the bench in South Africa's historic 32–34 loss to Japan. After starting in the rest of the pool matches, Etzebeth started in the quarter-final win against Wales and semi-final 18-20 narrow loss to New Zealand. On 30 October 2015, with the Springboks having been knocked out of the chance to win the World Cup, Etzebeth started in a locking partnership with retiring captain Victor Matfield against Argentina for the Bronze Final. Etzebeth played the full 80 minutes of the bronze final and scored a try in the 43rd minute, helping South Africa to win third place in the competition.

Etzebeth played his 50th test for South Africa, against Australia in round 3 of the 2016 Rugby Championship and became the youngest South African player in history to reach the milestone, being only 24 years old at the time. The match was a disappointment for the Springboks and for Etzebeth, who was yellow-carded in the 41st minute of their 17–23 loss against the Wallabies.

After captaining the Springboks to beat France 35–12 in the final match of a three-test series between the two sides, Etzebeth was named as captain of the Springboks for the 2017 Rugby Championship, replacing newly appointed captain Warren Whiteley who was ruled out of the competition with an injury sustained in the second test of the French series. Whiteley failed to recover prior to the end of the 2017 season so this saw Etzebeth carry a huge workload for South Africa in 2017, playing the full 80 minutes of every match in the 2017 Rugby Championship and three-test French series. Etzebeth's 2017 campaign included what was arguably the best performance of his career in a narrow 24–25 loss to New Zealand in Cape Town.

After playing the full 80 minutes in South Africa's 3–38 loss to Ireland and 18–17 win over France on the end-of-year-tour, Etzebeth was finally subbed off for the first time in 2017 where he was replaced by Franco Mostert in a 35–6 win over Italy. Etzebeth was subbed off at half-time in the final test of 2017 where South Africa lost 22–24 against Wales, picking up a back injury.

In addition to full international matches, Etzebeth has played in non-cap matches against a World XV in Cape Town 2015 and the Barbarians in London in 2016.

Etzebeth was named in South Africa's squad for the 2019 Rugby World Cup. South Africa went on to win the tournament, defeating England in the final.

On 16 July 2022, Etzebeth won his 100th cap for South Africa in a 30–14 win over Wales becoming only the 7th Springbok to reach this milestone.

As of 4 November 2023, Etzebeth is the third most capped Springbok of all time.

Springbok statistics

Test Match Record

Against P W D L Tri Pts  %Won
 Argentina 20 16 1 3 2 10 80
 Australia 18 8 2 8 1 5 44.44
 British and Irish Lions 3 2 0 1 0 0 66.67
 England 12 7 1 4 1 5 58.33
 France 7 6 0 1 2 10 85.71
 Georgia 1 1 0 0 0 0 100
 Ireland 8 3 0 5 0 0 37.5
 Italy 5 5 0 0 0 0 100
 Japan 3 2 0 1 0 0 66.67
 Namibia 1 1 0 0 0 0 100
 New Zealand 22 6 1 15 0 0 27.27
 Samoa 2 2 0 0 0 0 100
 Scotland 6 6 0 0 0 0 100
 United States 1 1 0 0 0 0 100
 Wales 10 6 0 4 0 0 60
Total 119 72 5 42 6 30 60.5

Pld = Games Played, W = Games Won, D = Games Drawn, L = Games Lost, Tri = Tries Scored, Pts = Points Scored

Test tries

Tries Opposition Location Venue Competition Date Result
1  Australia Brisbane, Australia Suncorp Stadium 2015 Rugby Championship 18 July 2015 Lost 20–24
1  Argentina London, United Kingdom Olympic Stadium 2015 Rugby World Cup 30 October 2015 Won 24–13
1  France Johannesburg, South Africa Ellis Park Test match 24 June 2017 Won 35–12
1  England London, England Twickenham 2022 November tests 26 November 2022 Won 27–13
1  Argentina Johannesburg, South Africa Ellis Park 2023 Rugby Championship 29 July 2023 Won 22–21
1  France Paris, France Stade de France 2023 Rugby World Cup 15 October 2023 Won 29–28

Super Rugby statistics

Season Team Games Starts Sub Mins Tries Points Booked Red card
2012 [[{{{tan}}}|{{{t}}}]] 13 13 1 923 1 5 0 0
2013 Stormers 8 7 1 591 1 5 0 0
2014 Stormers did not play
2015 Stormers 11 10 1 792 0 0 0 0
2016 Stormers 10 10 0 741 2 10 0 0
2017 Stormers 12 12 0 909 0 0 1 0
2018 Stormers did not play
2019 Stormers 8 6 2 430 0 0 0 0
Total 61 57 4 4306 4 20 14 2
Sporting positions
Preceded by
Warren Whiteley
Springbok Captain
Pieter-Steph du Toit

Personal life

Etzebeth married actress and singer Anlia van Rensburg on Saturday 4 February 2023 at the La Paris estate in Franschhoek, Western Cape. Van Rensburg sang the South African national anthem on Etzebeth's 100th test cap.

See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Eben Etzebeth para niños

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