Sharks lock Eben Etzebeth showed that he is not all brawn with an intelligent try against Harlequins, thanks to his understanding of the laws.
The Springbok veteran committed daylight robbery by nicking the ball from the feet of Danny Care at a ruck to race away and score.
High IQ play
Harlequins set up a ruck and were preparing for Care to execute a box kick, with Joe Marler extending the ruck for his side to give the scrumhalf a bit more space.
However, Sharks hooker Kerron van Vuuren hit the ruck, forcing Marler’s bind to loosen. Etzebeth spotted this and pounced immediately, robbing Care of the ball and sped away untouched to score the try.
🧠 High IQ play from Eben Etzebeth.
Brilliant understanding of the laws from the Sharks' lock 👏 #HARvSHAR pic.twitter.com/89Qfott6aM
— Planet Rugby (@PlanetRugby) January 21, 2023
Etzebeth timed his run to perfection to avoid being offside, as he only advanced once Marler’s bind was loose.
The moment Marler’s bind slips, he pounces! pic.twitter.com/ZVyFvTlrtM
— Jared Wright (@jaredwright17) January 21, 2023
The second rower was praised for his piece of brilliance on Twitter, with Leinster Rugby schools head coach and popular analyst Brett Igoe tweeting: ‘Great thinking/reactions by Etzebeth #HARvSHA – onside for me. Clearly a strategy by Sharks.’
Care was also criticised for not reacting or adjusting to Etzebeth, especially considering that the Springbok had attempted the same thing earlier in the game but knocked the ball on.
Sports journalist Ken Borland tweeted: ‘Well Danny Care may be playing his 350th game but he clearly does not learn from his mistakes! Earlier, Eben Etzebeth robbed Care of the ball at the base but knocked on. This time he picks up cleanly & races away to score. The key is Care is not bound & had his hands on the ball.’
Sonja McLaughlan joked that Etzebeth was doing his utmost to get rid of caterpillar rucks.
Eben Etzebeth doing his upmost to extinguish the caterpillar 🐛
— Sonja McLaughlan (@Sonjamclaughlan) January 21, 2023
The try meant that the Sharks trailed by just two points at half-time in what was a pulsating first 40 minutes of Champions Cup rugby, but they would go on to lose 39-29.
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