While he does not want to reveal too much of his excitement about the British and Irish Lions Series, Springbok star Eben Etzebeth was willing to let this much be known — he cannot wait to get back in the Test arena with his Bok mates.
The World Cup-winner, who plays for French club Toulon, broke his finger during training with the Top 14 side two weeks ago. But, during an interview with Jim Hamilton on The Rugby Pod, the 29-year-old assured fans that he would be back at training shortly, which means he will have time to get ready for the Lions showpiece, which is scheduled to kick off in July.
It is particularly good news considering the potential lock conundrum that could have stared the Boks in the face two months out from hosting the quadrennial event, with the setbacks at Sale and Munster with Lood de Jager and RG Snyman.
But the former Stormers presence confirmed he will be ready to take to the field again in May.
“Almost two weeks ago in training, I broke my finger,” Etzebeth said.
“Quite a weird accident. I will probably be playing in three, four weeks again.
“Like with rugby, any injury is sometimes a blessing, so the body gets a bit of a rest. There is still a big year ahead, otherwise all good in France. I’m missing the family back home with Covid rules, otherwise it is good.”
Explaining how it happened, he added: “I just came on a line off nine. There wasn’t even contact. The ball and the guy it was almost like shadow. It was shadow rugby and ball and the guy in front came at the same time.
“I almost tried to catch the ball with one hand and stop the guy in front with the other and somehow my finger got caught. The bone actually came through the skin . . . so I saw it and I was like oops and I ran to the physio’s room and it got operated on the same day.”
The Boks last played Test rugby on November 2, when they won the World Cup in Japan in stunning fashion.
On reconnecting with his Bok teammates on the training pitch, Etzebeth said: “I obviously keep in contact with the guys and of course there are some guys who you are closer with, I spoke to Siya (Kolisi) and Beast (Mtawarira) last night actually . . . but ja, the World Cup feels like an eternity ago.
“I’m really looking forward to playing a Test again with those guys, you don’t want to say too much because then ex-players like Jean de Villliers give you flack and say ‘oh so you’re already in the team’,” Etzebeth joked.