Eben Etzebeth: World Cup semifinal all the motivation the players need

Eben Etzebeth: World Cup semifinal all the motivation the players need

Eben Etzebeth played down talk of the Springboks being extra motivated because they are facing England on Saturday night, insisting the prize they are playing for is all that matters.

The centurion lock made it clear that the identity of their opponents in this weekend's Rugby World Cup semi-final has no bearing on how he or his teammates will approach the match.

Reporters were probing to see if the Boks had any specific animus towards the England team, but the experienced Etzebeth would not take the bait, despite having had some memorable run-ins with England players in the past.

"All four two teams have two more hurdles before they can claim the trophy and that's more than enough motivation to not let your form dip," he said.

"I think at the knockout stages of the World Cup it doesn't matter who you play, a win brings so much happiness.

"When we beat France at the weekend everyone was so happy and knowing you have another shot and another week to prepare - and you are not sitting back at home - is the main thing so whether it was England or Fiji wouldn't have changed our desperation to win the game. That will be our motivation."

Etzebeth, who eases past Tendai Mtawarira as the third most capped Bok this weekend with his 118th cap, said he expected that England's team, which contains 13 survivors of their 32-12 World Cup final four years ago, would channel some of that disappointment into their coming performance.

"You always want to respond after a setback - obviously 2019 was a big one [for them] - it was a World Cup final," he said.

"We know that they will still be thinking of that, and everyone, and you guys [the media] remind us of that now and then. But there are two more hurdles and it's very important for us to get to that last hurdle, so we will be focused on that.

"Obviously we know how physical and aggressively they will come at us on Saturday, and we will go exactly the same fashion against them. It's a world cup semi-final, it's the biggest prize in rugby you can win so I think the guys will keep on being focused."