Springbok lock Marvin Orie has described second-row partner Eben Etzebeth as an inspiration ahead of the Boks’ Rugby Championship encounter against Argentina in Johannesburg on Saturday.
The 30-year-old and Etzebeth have been team-mates since their schooldays at Tygerberg High in Cape Town and Orie said he is looking forward to packing down alongside Etzebeth, who is set to become the fourth most capped Springbok of all time when he surpasses former Bok hooker and captain John Smit’s 111 caps this weekend.
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‘A big leader for the Boks’
“I am incredibly inspired by a guy like Eben and what he’s done for rugby in South Africa,” said Orie. “He’s a big leader in the team and he brings calmness in a match. That’s something that comes with experience.
“I’m sure people probably wonder that when there is a scuffle he doesn’t look calm, but he is incredibly calm and that comes with experience. If there is a bit of pressure or any hastiness, he brings that calmness which helps me as well.”
Etzebeth is the Boks’ enforcer and renowned as a fiery character but the calmness which Orie refers to will be needed when they come against Los Pumas lock Tomas Lavanini, who is a player who is also a player who enjoys the physical nature of the game.
“We try to always understand the opposition, I played against Tomas and a couple of the other Argentine locks in Super Rugby, they are tough guys, they are feisty and don’t back off,” added Orie.
“We revel in those contests as well. Every day in training is competition, so we can’t get too feisty there, it’s about the match but we are very excited about it.”
With the Rugby World Cup in France looming on the horizon and Bok head coach Jacques Nienaber set to name his squad for the global showpiece on August 8, Orie is aware that the competition for places in the 33-man group is intense, but he feels it benefits the team and the players.
“There’s a lot of competition in the squad, but it’s good,” said Orie, who is set to join Top 14 outfit Perpignan after the World Cup. “We push one another at training everyday. But it’s not about me, rugby is a team sport, and we do what’s best for the team.”
Looking forward to playing in Johannesburg
Orie, who was part of the Stormers’ squad which won the inaugural United Rugby Championship in 2022 and finished as runners up in that competition earlier this year, is relishing the opportunity of playing at a packed Emirates Airline Park on Saturday.
“When I think of Emirates Airline Park I think of the 1995 Rugby World Cup, and what that did for rugby and the country,” he said.
“Personally, I perceive it to be the home of the Springboks. Altitude is also a factor at the stadium, and hopefully we can take advantage of that.”