All Blacks lock Scott Barrett has talked up Springbok second rowers Eben Etzebeth and Franco Mostert ahead of their clash in Wellington on Saturday.
Etzebeth has started all three Rugby Championship matches for the Boks since recovering from shoulder and back injuries, forming a partnership with Mostert over the last two Tests against Argentina and the Wallabies.
Barrett, who could start against the Boks after Brodie Retallick was ruled out of the match with a shoulder injury, gave his thoughts on his potential opponents.
‘Eben, he’s been out for a while and I’m sure he’s looking to play some positive rugby. He’s a massive mountain of a man and he’s a big, hard South African,’ Barrett said on Monday.
‘Franco, he’s got a huge engine on him. A good lineout forward and he’s been a big driver for the Lions in the Super Rugby in the last three years, so a good leader there and they’re both quality players.’
Etzebeth started against the All Blacks when the teams last met, in Cape Town last October, with Mostert coming on with 25 minutes to go. The visitors won the match 25-24.
‘That was probably one of the most physical Tests that I’ve been involved in,’ said Scott Barrett. ‘Any game against the Springboks is going to be physical, for sure. They want to dominate you physically up front and some of the backs are big ball-carriers, so we have to prepare for a huge physical battle [this week].’
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