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‘Special to celebrate this day with him’: Etzebeth, Mbonambi on Bok records

Eben Etzebeth and Bongi Mbonambi reached significant personal milestones for the Springboks against Wales n Saturday.
Eben Etzebeth and Bongi Mbonambi reached significant personal milestones for the Springboks against Wales n Saturday.

Springbok stalwarts Eben Etzebeth and Bongi Mbonambi revealed after Saturday's 30-14 win over Wales at Cape Town Stadium they lay low last week because they didn’t want to make the build-up to the Test match about them.

The Test was a special occasion for Etzebeth as he played in his 100th Test match and for Mbonambi as he clocked a significant personal milestone of 50 matches for the Boks.

After SA won to clinch the series 2-1, the towering Etzebeth said it was special to reach his century in front of his family and in the city where he played most of his rugby.

“It was special having my family. Having my dad in the stands and him singing the national anthem was very special and getting the win made me even more happy,” the Bok lock said.

“Also Bongi playing in his 50th Test match, he knows how I feel about him and I have told him before that he is a warrior — it was special for me to celebrate this day with him.

“The main goal was to get the series win — we approached this whole week as a final because we are going to have another few finals in the coming year and next year.

“We have been in finals before and we know what it’s like and everyone stuck to the plan and it was really great and a special moment.”

Mbonambi said reaching his half-century was a humbling experience.

“It hasn’t been an easy journey — to be a Springbok is not an easy journey. You just take it day by day. It took longer to get here but I am very honoured and humbled for the experience.

“As Eben said, it was a special day and we played it very low [key] this week and never wanted it to be about us. The Springbok team always has a plan and we stuck to the plan this whole week.

“We trained hard. Other players also played their part in this series win. To have my family here and my wife made it even more special and the win is a bonus too.”

Bok captain Siya Kolisi paid tribute to Etzebeth and Mbonambi.

“We wanted to make it special for Eben and Bongi but they didn’t make it about themselves. They wanted the team to win first and that’s the best gift we could give to them.

“They have been amazing for us as a team. We can never question their character and what this team means to them. I am so grateful that I could be out there with both of them.”


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