Two of our team members pick their No 4 for the SARugbymag.co.za Fans' World XV.
It's easy to forget that this kid is only 22, and that he has played only two seasons of senior rugby to date. Etzebeth is yet to have a bad game for the Stormers, Western Province, or the Springboks, and is clearly enjoying the responsibility of playing 'enforcer'.
Apart from these less than glamorous duties, he's a terrific athlete. Etzebeth has racked up the ball-carrying metres for the Boks this past season, and his ability to contest and win turnover ball at the lineout has improved dramatically.
He's been touted as a future No 5 option, but for now he will concentrate on No 4. Etzebeth has brought both athleticism and physicality to that position and it's encouraging to think that he will only get better as he grows more experienced.
I've clearly drawn the short end of the stick here, given that Etzebeth was so clearly ahead of all his challengers in the position. However, Retallick comes closest to the Springboks' enforcer, having enjoyed an under-celebrated but highly effective season with the All Blacks.
There is no aspect of the game he is weak in – his lineout catching and contesting is solid, his defensive work rate and efficiency is high, he is very competent at the restarts and is a strong ball carrier.
Certainly he doesn't boast Etzebeth's athleticism, but who does? Retallick's contribution to the Chiefs' back-to-back Super Rugby championship wins and the All Blacks' perfect season wasn't lauded as intensely as some of his team-mates' were. But privately his coaches know his immense value.
Stand the chance to win R10,000 worth of prizes sponsored by DUEL Shave Division by picking your own World XV from the new SA Rugby mag fans’ app.
Photos: Andrew Cornaga/Photosport