Springboks prop Tendai ‘The Beast’ Mtawarira has apologised to his opposing loosehead Keita Inagaki after his first half yellow card on Sunday in Tokyo.
The 115-cap veteran was visibly pumped up after the national anthems, which is expected given that it was a Rugby World Cup quarter-final against the host nation Japan.
However, that emotion may have reached fever pitch on ten minutes with a tip tackle that some feel could have been a red card from referee Wayne Barnes.
After the game, the 34-year-old shared an image of himself with Inagaki, and shared the message: “I play the game hard but fair and was glad to get the opportunity to apologise to my opponent Keita Inagaki afterwards.”
There is no denying that over his long career, Mtawarira has never shown anything to suggest he is a dirty player, and it is understandable that there is sometimes a surge of adrenalin which may lead to some players being overzealous in a tackle.
Barnes was quick to brandish the yellow, and had he turned to the television match official, it could have been worse for the Sharks prop, although the tackle did see Inagaki land on his shoulder rather than neck or head.
But only a few weeks after Canada lock Josh Larsen showed his class at the Rugby World Cup by apologising to the Springboks team after a red card, Mtawarira has also shown the values of the game.
The yellow card proved costly as well for South Africa, as it gave Japan a foothold into the game after a strong start from Rassie Erasmus’ side.
The Brave Blossoms went on to dominate the next ten minutes, but only came away with three points. Despite only leading 5-3 at half time, the Springboks pulled away in the second half to win 26-3 and book a semi-final against Wales.
RugbyPass went off the beaten track to an iconic Maid Cafe in Akihabara, Tokyo.
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