Springbok prop Tendai Mtawarira, affectionately known as ‘Beast’, will reach a personal milestone on Saturday in Brisbane when he is set to play in his 81st Test against Australia in their Rugby Championship clash.
Mtawarira, who celebrated his 31st birthday last month, will thereby overtake the previous record of 80 Tests for a Bok prop he shared with former Bok legend Os du Randt and which he equalled in the Boks’ previous Test against Argentina in Salta.
Ironically Mtawarira was Du Randt’s successor in the Bok jersey after Du Randt retired following the Boks’ World Cup win in the 2007 final against England in Paris.
Mtawarira made his debut in the second Welsh Test of 2008 under former Bok coach Peter de Villiers and has been a mainstay in the Bok team the last eight years and is now playing under his third Bok coach after Heyneke Meyer replaced De Villiers in 2012 and was then in turn replaced by current Bok coach Allister Coetzee.
It was only recently that Mtawarira’s position was being challenged by the likes of Steven Kitshoff and Trevor Nyakane, but as always the big Sharks man turned his focus on getting a result for the Boks on Saturday.
“The Wallabies are always tough to play against on their home turf,” said Mtawarira, who captained the Sharks in Super Rugby this year.
“They are a very good technical side, and we will have to make sure we prepare well for them,” said Mtawarira.
The Boks have been heavily criticised this year after a struggling 2-1 series win over Ireland in June, followed by two struggling performances against Argentina in the Rugby Championship.
First the Boks had to come from behind to beat Argentina 30-23 in Nelspruit, but then the following week they crashed to a 26-24 defeat to the Pumas in Salta, their first-ever loss on Puma soil, while they were also surprisingly beaten 37-25 last year in Durban by Argentina.
“Individual mistakes cost us in Salta,” said Mtawarira.
“And we made it our mission to rectify those mistakes during training in the week leading up to the Wallaby Test, so that we don’t repeat them again this weekend,” added the experienced prop.
No doubt there’s a lot more to come from The Beast.