Ireland international fires back at Eben Etzebeth’s Rugby World Cup claims


Ireland international Stuart McCloskey has fired back at Eben Etzebeth following his controversial comments about their Rugby World Cup meeting in France last year.

Etzebeth accused the Ireland players of being arrogant following their win over Ireland in the pool stages, claiming that several of them told him “See you in the final” when shaking hands after the game.

The towering lock said that he couldn’t believe Ireland were overlooking the fact that they had to play the All Blacks in the final, with Ian Foster’s side ultimately knocking them out before losing to the Springboks in the final.

“The thing was obviously you shake the guy’s hands and probably 12 out of the 23 when I shook the hands told me, ‘See you guys in the final’,” Etzebeth said on an episode of The Rugby Pod

“Because the way the logs worked out we were going to play France and they were going to play New Zealand and my immediate thought was, ‘Are these guys seriously not even thinking about the All Blacks in the World Cup quarter-final playing against them?’

“So that remark they made, ‘See you guys in the final’, I was just like these guys are making a big mistake to look past probably one of the most dominant teams, or probably the most dominant team in the last 20 to 30 years of Test rugby.”

McCloskey has now had his say on The Rugby Pod, and his has dismissed Etzbeth’s claims.

“It seems like a crazy thing that he was counting them, for one. That seemed a bit wild he was counting them out,” McCloskey said.

“I haven’t spoken to the lads about it. There’s maybe only Iain Henderson was playing from an Ulster perspective but I assume they were just saying it in a way trying to be humble in the victory kind of thing.

“Like, ‘you guys will still be there’ because obviously they were a classy team, they ended up winning so they got the last laugh. But I don’t think there was any malice in it or arrogance on the guys’ behalf if they did say it.

“That’s the only way I could see them saying it. I don’t think there was an arrogance from the squad’s behalf that we were going to get there definitely anyway.”

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