All Blacks coach Ian Foster commiserates with Springbok captain Eben Etzebeth after ‘tragic’ loss of his father

Eben Etzebeth during a Springbok press conference.

FILE - It remains to be seen if Eben Etzebeth will return home after the death of his father. Photo: Laszlo Geczo/INPHO/Shutterstock/BackpagePix

Published Jul 13, 2023


All Blacks head coach Ian Foster said Thursday their thoughts were with South Africa's stand-in captain Eben Etzebeth after his father died in the lead-up to Saturday's match in Auckland.

Etzebeth's father Harry died on Tuesday night and it remains to be seen if the lock will play on the weekend or fly home to South Africa.

An SA Rugby official told AFP that Etzebeth was "very emotional at the moment as he was extremely close to his father".

The Springboks will leave it up to him whether he plays in the Rugby Championship showdown.

Foster said the Springboks will field a strong side at Mount Smart Stadium regardless, based on their 43-12 hammering of Australia in Pretoria last Saturday.

"We haven't really thought about the impact, but they have got a lot of quality players," he said.

"We saw that last week and I'm sure they will adapt and adjust, but right now our thoughts go out to him as a person."

Foster added: "It's tragic news for him. I'm sure they will deal with it in the right way."

Munster's RG Snyman could be promoted from the bench if Etzebeth drops out.

Should Etzebeth decide to play for the World Cup title-holders it will be his first match since suffering a shoulder injury three months ago.