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Eben Etzebeth to return home

Springbok lock Eben Etzebeth will not be considered for the Castle Lager Outgoing Test against Wales on Saturday as a result of the concussion he suffered against England two weeks ago and he will return home on Tuesday, the Springboks have confirmed.

Etzebeth had to leave the field in the first half at Twickenham after he clashed with an English opponent, and he did not play against Italy in Florence as part of the return to play protocol.

“We won’t call up a replacement because we currently have sufficient cover in that position with Pieter-Steph du Toit, Lood de Jager and Franco Mostert,” explained Springbok coach Allister Coetzee. “There are also some utility forwards who can provide extra cover if needed.”

The Springbok coach and skipper, Adriaan Strauss, spoke to the media earlier on Monday.

In the wake of the first-time defeat to Italy, both described the Welsh Test as a massive one for the Springboks.

“There is a great rivalry between us and this week the Test between the two countries will be a massive one. Recent matches between us have been very close, decided by small margins, so it will be another huge battle. Both teams have a lot to play for,” said Strauss.

He added: “Everyone is hurting and we really want to play a good game of rugby on Saturday.”

Coetzee said: “They might not be happy with their form of late, but Wales have a quality side, an experienced side. You can say we are both in the same boat at the moment, so it will be a massive Test on Saturday.”

Coetzee also explained his team will focus a lot on their mental preparation this week.

“We will try and keep it simple and we will have clear, simple focus for the week. We want to be mentally sharp and go into the match with fresh energy,” said Coetzee.

Strauss will lead the Boks out in his last Test match on Saturday as he will retire from international rugby at the end of the tour.

The Springbok team to face Wales on Saturday will be named on Thursday.

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