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South Africa vs Ireland: Irish media targeted me, says Springbok lock Eben Etzebeth

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Etzebeth was speaking after being named in a strong South Africa side that includes 12 World Cup winners for the first Test against Ireland at Loftus Versfeld Stadium on Saturday.

While South Africa are back-to-back World Cup winners, they have lost their past three encounters with Ireland.

Ireland, however, have never won a series in South Africa.

“From their side, they probably have unfinished business to try and get number one [in the world],” said Springboks head coach Rassie Erasmus.

“We don’t talk like that. We analyse players, we see how they perform in the URC [United Rugby Championship] and European Cup, then pick our team from players we think can do the job for us.

“We train really hard. We try to stay in our reality but our reality is we’re playing at home against a team that has beaten us. All the games were really close, they deserved all of those.”

Former World Rugby coach of the year Erasmus added: “But it’s never ‘we’ve got a score to settle’. I’d rather take a World Cup, two World Cups and a British and Irish Lions series, and take the three losses.”

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