Springboks captain Eben Etzebeth has called on disappointed fans not to vent their anger towards the players’ loved ones.
Etzebeth was commenting in the wake of the Springboks’ 57-0 drubbing at the hands of the All Blacks in Albany last Saturday. Given the nature of the defeat, it would not be out of place to expect such discontentment.
It was the biggest defeat in the history of the Springbok rugby’s inception that dates back to 1891.
In an interview with Netwerk24, Etzebeth said the wives and girlfriends of some of the Boks’ players had been receiving “nasty” messages upon the South Africans’ return to Johannesburg.
“I can understand people being upset with us. They’re allowed to be – but keep our families out of it,” Etzebeth said. “There are some terrible people out there, saying some nasty things to our wives and girlfriends, and that’s not nice (to hear).”
Etzebeth admitted being stunned by the backlash from the South African rugby public and the reception that the team received.
“There are still a few people that wanted to take pictures with us and that applauded us when we got home.But, yes, there were plenty of people that were extremely negative. We understand that, but we always give our all (on the pitch),” Etzebeth said.
Overall, the All Blacks now boast a 56-35 win-loss record, with three draws.
What’s more alarming from a Springbok perspective is that since rugby turned professional in 1996, the All Blacks have won 38 matches as compared to a meagre 14 by South Africa. The Kiwis have won 10 of the previous 11 Tests between the two nations.
The next Test between the teams is scheduled for Newlands in Cape Town on October 7.