son of Etzbeth (Photo by Grant Beecher/Gallow Images)
All Blacks coach Ian Foster said on Thursday their thoughts are with South Africa’s replacement captain Eben Etzebeth following the death of his father in the run-up to Saturday’s game in Auckland.
Elizabeth’s father Harry passed away on Tuesday night It remains to be seen if the lock will work at the weekend or back home to South Africa.
An SA rugby club official told AFP that Elizabeth “was very emotional at the moment because he was so close to his father”.
The Springboks will leave it up to them whether they play in a rugby championship game.
Foster said the Springboks will field a strong team at Mount Smart Stadium regardless, building on Australia’s 43-12 defeat in Pretoria last Saturday.
“We didn’t really think about the impact, but they have a lot of quality players,” he said.
“We saw that last week and I’m sure they’ll tune in and adapt, but for now our thoughts go to him as a person.”
Foster added, “It’s tragic news for him. I’m sure they’ll handle it the right way.”
Munster’s RG Snyman could be promoted from the bench if Etzebeth withdraws.
If Etzebeth decides to play for the reigning World Cup champions, it will be his first game since suffering a shoulder injury three months ago.
Kick-off is at 09:05 (South African time) on Saturday.
15 Beauden Barrett, 14 Will Jordan, 13 Ricco Ewan, 12 Jordie Barrett, 11 Mark Tilea, 10 Richie Muonga, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Ardi Savea, 7 Sam Kane (Captain), 6 Shannon Frizzell, 5 Scott Barrett, 4 Brodie Retallick , 3 Tyrel Lomax, 2 Codie Taylor, 1 Ethan de Groot
Substitutes: 16 Samisoni Taukei’aho, 17 Tamaiti Williams, 18 Nepo Laulala, 19 Tupou Vaa’i, 20 Dalton Papali’i, 21 Finlay Christie, 22 Braydon Ennor, 23 Caleb Clarke
15 Willy Le Roux, 14 Cheslin Colby, 13 Lujanio AM, 12 Damien De Allende, 11 Makazole Mpembe, 10 Damien Willemse, 9 Pfaff de Klerk, 8 Jasper Veese, 7 Franco Mostert, 6 Quagga Smith, 5 Lowwood de Jager, 4 Abin Etzebeth (Captain), 3 Frans Malherbe, 2 Bongi Mbonambi, 1 Stephen Ketchove
Substitutes: 16 Malcolm Marks, 17 Thomas Du Toit, 18 Vincent Koch, 19 RJ Sneeman, 20 Peter Steve Du Toit, 21 Duane Vermeulen, 22 Grant Williams, 23 Mane Lieboc