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Eben Etzebeth Warns Against Underestimating the All Blacks

Eben Etzebeth Warns Against Underestimating the All Blacks

All BlacksMay 1, 2024

Springbok lock Eben Etzebeth said Ireland paid the price for discounting the threat the All Blacks posed in their Rugby World Cup quarterfinal in France last year.

Etzebeth said on The Rugby Pod podcast that after Ireland beat South Africa 13-8 in their pool game, he was surprised at how confident the Irish were about making the Cup final.

"After the game, you shake the guys' hands, and probably 12 out of the 23 told me, 'See you guys in the final.'

"My immediate thought was because of the way the logs [points tables] worked, we were going to play France, and they were going to play New Zealand.

"I thought, 'Are these guys seriously not even thinking about the All Blacks in a World Cup quarterfinal, playing against them?

"That remark they made – 'see you guys in the final'. I thought these guys were making a big mistake to look past probably the most dominant team in the last 20-30 years of Test rugby. Surely, they can't.

"We would never say that because we knew we've got the host nation, and we were going to have to pitch up to beat France in their backyard.

"It just felt like they were so confident saying things like that when you know you've got the mighty All Blacks coming up in a World Cup quarterfinal.

"Frans Malherbe was with me, and I said, 'I don't know if these guys are riding a bit high. It is good to be confident, but you can never be arrogant in this game.

"You can have the best season, and you can have one slip-up or one missed tackle, and a guy puts you on your a***.

"That's the beauty of this game, you are never on top forever."

New Zealand beat Ireland 28-24 in their quarterfinal, then beat Argentina 44-6 in their semifinal and went down to South Africa 11-12 in the Cup final.

South Africa is to host Ireland for two Tests in July.

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