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02nd May 2024

South Africa star lets slip ‘big mistake’ Irish players made after World Cup clash

Simon Kelly

South Africa Ireland World Cup

“You can never be arrogant in this game.”

South Africa star Eben Etzebeth has let slip one big mistake that Ireland players made after their early World Cup clash against the Springboks last year.

The two giants went head to head in a Pool B contest at the Stade de France, with Andy Farrell’s men winning out 13-8 after an exhausting encounter.

The victory gave the Ireland team the confidence to go on and sweep the group, setting up a match against New Zealand in the quarter finals.

However, their heartbreaking defeat at the hands of the All Blacks prevented them facing South Africa once again, who eventually went on to win their fourth title.

Speaking of their initial Pool B encounter, Etzebeth said that the confidence Ireland had at the end of the match might well have in fact been their downfall.

South Africa star lets slip ‘big mistake’ Irish players made after World Cup clash

Speaking to Jim Hamilton on The Rugby Pod, the experienced lock said: “The thing was obviously you shake the guy’s hands and probably 12 out of the 23 when I shook the hands told me, ‘See you guys in the final’.

“Because the way the logs worked out we were going to play France and they were going to play New Zealand and my immediate thought was, ‘Are these guys seriously not even thinking about the All Blacks in the World Cup quarter-final playing against them?’.

“So that remark they made, ‘See you guys in the final’, I was just like these guys are making a big mistake to look past probably one of the most dominant teams, or probably the most dominant team in the last 20 to 30 years of Test rugby.

“It just felt like they were just so, so confident saying things like that when you knew you had got the mighty All Blacks coming in a World Cup quarter-final.

“It’s good to be confident but you can never be arrogant in this game because that’s the thing about rugby, you can have the best season and you can have one slip-up or one missed tackle and a guy puts you on your arse.

“That is the beauty of this game – you are never on top forever.”

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