World Cup-winning Springbok Tendai ‘Beast’ Mtawarira has announced his retirement from international rugby. The 34-year-old veteran of 117 Tests confirmed his decision after a monumental performance in his final match, Saturday’s emphatic 32-12 victory over England in the World Cup final in Yokohama.
In a trademark scrummaging performance from the 115-kg front row, the Springbok pack forced a succession of penalties to crown a storied career for the ‘gentle giant’. Mtawarira made his senior debut for the Sharks in 2006 and won his first Springbok cap in 2008, setting records on the way.
‘Beast’ became the third most-capped Springbok (behind Victor Matfield and Bryan Habana), the most capped prop, made the most appearances for a South African Super Rugby team (159) and won the World Cup (2019), Tri-Nations (2009), Rugby Championship (2019), a series against the British and Irish Lions (2009) and the Currie Cup (2008, 2010 and 2013).
“I’ve been privileged to play this great game and achieve many career goals over the last 12 years of playing senior rugby,” said Mtawarira.
“I’ve been blessed to have been part of teams that achieved so much success over the years, and I have many memories to cherish forever, but I can honestly say that winning the World Cup is the perfect ending and cherry on top.
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“I am grateful for the opportunities afforded to me by many top coaches at the Springboks and the Sharks, and grateful to my numerous team mates in green and gold, and black and white, over the years.
“But most of all, to my wife Kuziva, and our two beautiful children, Talumba and Wangu, for sacrificing so much to allow me to chase my dreams. I really appreciate it immensely.
“I would also like to thank my parents, other family and friends for their support over the years – I could not have done this without you.”
— RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) November 5, 2019
Mark Alexander, president of SA Rugby, paid tribute to Mtawarira who made his Springbok debut in the second Test against Wales in Pretoria in 2008.“Beast is someone who never complained, always put in the hard work and simply got on with his job in his typically unassuming way.
“When he first got an opportunity at the Sharks, he rode a bicycle to training, which perfectly sums up not only his humbleness but his desire to make it to the top. He worked very hard to achieve what he has and we’re all very proud of him.
“Beast thank you for what you’ve done for South African rugby, to show that Springboks can indeed be gentle giants, and for never putting your own interests above that of the team. We salute you and will miss you in green and gold.”
WATCH: Cheslin Kolbe talks to the media after the World Cup-winning Springboks arrive home
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