The Beast Speaks Out

Tendai Mtawarira was two weeks ago omitted from the Springboks rugby team selection after the South African Department of Sport and Recreation instructed the South African Rugby Union (SARU) not to select any player who did not hold a South African passport.

Mtawarira could not hide his disappointment in not playing for his adopted country because of the decision.
“I am naturally disappointed and pray that things will be fine,” he said.
Postings on his twitter page showed just how anxious he is to play for the Springboks again.

“Being excluded out of the first Springboks test because of citizenship issue was really hard. I treasure that Bok jersey more than anything,” wrote Mtawarira.

He made it very clear that the past two weeks have been tough for him as he was reduced to a spectator watching his former team mates play on television but he remains hopeful that he will be able to play again.

“I am just hanging in there. I love this country with my all. My heart is here. My heart is with that Bok Jersey. I just hope and pray that the matter is resolved urgently, I can’t wait to play,” he added.

Mtawarira has won the 22 test caps for the Springboks since 2008 when he made his Springboks debut against Wales, supposedly gaining eligibility through residency criteria, and was a key figure in his side’s victory over the British and Irish Lions last year.

The 24-year-old talented prop, who plays his rugby with the Durban-based Sharks, is undoubtedly one of the most intimidating loose heads in world rugby.

The man nicknamed “The Beast” was born and raised in Zimbabwe and played youth rugby for the country before joining the South African domestic system with the Sharks.

His rise in the international stardom has been nothing less than extraordinary.

Though he is Zimbabwean, Mtawarira is testimony to the transformation that has been slowly taking place in South African rugby, where the black player is becoming an integral part of Springbok teams, not through the quota system but by right.

His fairytale story started in Harare, Zimbabwe at PeterHouse College in Marondera, a private school about 70 kilometres outside the capital, where he went on a sporting scholarship.

At 18, he went on a routine school rugby tour to Durban. He played against one of the local schools when Barry Angus, at the time a conditioning coach with the Sharks saw him play and immediately offered him a scholarship at the Sharks Academy. The rest as often said became history.