The unnoticed Alaalatoa cheap shot that surely triggered Etzebeth
While it first appeared that it was Makazole Mapimpi’s little scuffle with Marika Koroibete that first enraged Eben Etzebeth and Allan Alaalatoa on Saturday in Sydney, some video evidence has come out to prove otherwise.
This was actually something that had been building all match, but it took until the 72nd minute for the pair to actually confront each other.
A video on Twitter shows that the Springboks lock and Wallabies tighthead had been going back and forth throughout the match, usually at the breakdown. For instance, one situation saw Alaalatoa try to clear Etzebeth out of a ruck, before the lock drove him back and threw him to the ground.
However, the worst of the bunch looked to be a knee to the head by the Brumbies prop. The moment came in the first half when Etzebeth was lying on the wrong side of the ruck, and was trying to get up. But as Alaalatoa arrives at the ruck, he clearly makes contact with the incoming Sharks lock’s head with his knee.
To be fair, this could have been unintentional, as he may have been focussing on arriving at the ruck rather than his opponent, but in the context of the rest of the match, where there were constant niggles, this might have been a purposeful cheap shot. If it was accidental, Alaalatoa picked one of the worst people in the rugby world to enrage like that.
Take a look at the video:
— Nahojocaj (@nahojocaj2) September 4, 2022
The match at the Allianz Stadium drew a close to South Africa and Australia’s encounters for 2022, which has recently become quite a ferocious and ill tempered affair. That was not helped by some of the antics in their first Test in Adelaide, chiefly Marika Koroibete’s tackle technique and Nic White’s theatrics. The Springboks got their own back the week later though with their victory in Sydney.