The moment in the Eben Etzebeth freak out everyone missed
Eben Etzebeth genuinely looked like he was going to rip Allan Alaalatoa’s head off in Sydney yesterday when their scrap kicked off.
The pair broke off from the two teams’ scuffle yesterday and started basically a wrestling and shouting match. But there was a moment in amongst it that could have made it much, much worse for Etzebeth. In fact, there was a moment that could have left Alaalatoa in hot water as well.
Just as the two started grabbing each other’s shirts, Etzebeth – with an open palm – went to push the Wallabies’ tighthead away, making contact with his face. His fingers were just millimetres from the prop’s eyes, and if he made contact there it would have been very serious indeed for the lock.
Now we know that Etzebeth is pretty ferocious on the pitch, and while there was obviously no intention to make contact with the eyes of his opponent, his ferocity almost spilled over there.
This is an image of the exact moment, and it shows how close he was to being in a lot of trouble:
Just seconds after this, Alaalatoa had his fist clenched and looked on the verge of throwing a punch. He managed to restrain himself, but he too could have found himself on the wrong end of a disciplinary hearing if he did not done so.
Ultimately, this was nothing more than a modern day rugby scrap, which is just a bit of shoving and shouting. But as far as modern day rugby scraps go, it was quite an intense one. In fact, Springboks head coach Jacques Nienaber said after the match that he was not happy with his side’s intensity in their first encounter with the Wallabies, and he definitely got a response.
“Last week we created opportunities and didn’t take them and that was better tonight,” said Nienaber.
“We also weren’t happy with the intensity last week and are pleased that we also made a big step-up in that regard tonight.”