'Beast' Tendai Mtawarira retires with a Golden Glow
YOKOHAMA, JAPAN - NOVEMBER 02: South Africa player Tendai Mtawarira runs at the England defence during the Rugby World Cup 2019 Final between England and South Africa at International Stadium Yokohama on November 02, 2019 in Yokohama, Kanagawa, Japan. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

If you can recall watching any Springboks match, then the cry from the crowd ‘Beast’ whenever Tendai Mtawarira received the ball, will be recalled with fond memories. And now, as the prop forward retires from International rugby, he leaves under the shine of a Golden Glow.

The 34-year old veteran of 117 Tests confirmed his decision just days after earning a Rugby World Cup winners medal. It tops off a stellar career for the Sharks Super Rugby player.

He can now look back with pleasure, as the South African team pushed through (and past) England, in a brilliant display on the biggest stage of them all.

‘Beast’ Tendai Mtawarira retires with a Golden Glow

In media comments made during the Durban leg of the World Champion Springboks nationwide celebration tour, Mtawarira spoke of his pride in the nation. “If we are all aligned and we all forget about our differences and just think about making South Africa better. We truly thank you for your support, it is overwhelming.

“You guys have been a big part of this journey.”

That journey will be one that illustrates many of the successful elements of recent South African Rugby policy. Leading that charge from the front of the pack, was the Beast.

Stronger Together is the mantra of 2019, it is the apex of success on the field. Not that it has always been easy. In fact, Mtawariwa has spoken of issues he and others had with past regimes. Jake White, and the successful 2007 group notwithstanding.

However, there have been successes. There has been a positive integration of the South African squad. Black and white players working together. Mixed, and while at times the ratio has been regulated, under Rassie Erasmus, the policy found a real firm footing and began to cement its place.

Players of colour are now the norm, a multi-racial marriage that the ‘Beast’ was a big part of. His presence both as a prop, and as a figurehead member of the team cannot be overlooked. It was empowering and has led the way for others, like captain Siya Kilosi.

Siya Kolisi, (L) the South Africa captain, sings the national anthem with team mate Tendai Mtawarira during the Rugby World Cup 2019 Final between England and South Africa at International Stadium Yokohama on November 02, 2019 in Yokohama, Kanagawa, Japan. (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

Not the first black player, but one with influence in both national and in Super Rugby and Currie Cup matches. His 11 seasons of International rugby demonstrated that coloured players could have long careers. Black players were no longer seen as short term options, and Tendai Mtawarira can be honoured for earning that reputation.

A centurion in green and gold, he leaves under a golden glow as the RWC group travel the nation rejoicing alongside their large fanbase. many of whom will forever remember the cry ‘Beast’ with pride and admiration.

They will all say ‘thank you Tendai’. You did break new ground and, you do leave as a Champion. 

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Social media highlights of Springboks Victory Tour

 

From East London to Durban, after beginning in Johannesburg.

Besides the new hero of South African rugby Siya Kilosi, the ‘Beast’ Tendai Mtawariwa is as recognizable as any cricket or athletics star player. And his influence will carry on, in name and in his standing in World Rugby.

 

“Main photo credit”
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