Eben Etzebeth and Pieter-Steph Du Toit performances during the first part of the Super Rugby series has provided the Stormers with a great foundation to do very well in this years’ tournament. The Stormers scrum has been outstanding now for a number of seasons, but recently their line-out has also now improved considerably. The Stormers line-out has been one of the highlights this year where they have dominated the opposition in that facet of the play and thus have provided them with a great format to attack from and have disrupted/stole the opposition throw on numerous occasions. Their big hits on the defense has given the Stormers already renowned defense system much more attitude and has given them the ability to be much more aggressive on the ground and to compete for the ball.
The Botha and Matfield combination aka “the Combo” will for many seasons to come be the bench mark to which international locks compare themselves too especially in South Africa. The aggression and furiosity that Bakkies Botha played the game of rugby will always be standard that every nr.4 lock or enforcer tries to aspire to. Matfield revolutionized the role of the nr. 5 and the way he controlled the line-outs for the Bulls and the Springboks made it a very important part of the respective teams’ strategy. These two was outstanding during the whole tournament in France 2007 and especially Matfield, when he won the Man of the Match award in the final against England.
So could Etzebeth and Du Toit be a better lock pair than Botha and Matfield? Obviously we cannot measure them by playing now against each other, but I believe a true measurement will be the test against the All Blacks with Brody Retallick and Sam Whitelock as their lock pairing. If Etzebeth and Du Toit can win that day against the mentioned above lock pairing, I believe that it will give them much confidence to be the best lock pair in the world and even inspire them to be better than what Botha and Matfield was.
I am a rugby fanatic (especially the Golden Lions and Springboks…Yes, I am a South African), enthusiast and a former player (only university level). I am a Director of Sport, Teacher and a big believer that rugby is the best sport on planet earth.