“I am grateful for the opportunities afforded to me by many top coaches at the Springboks and the Sharks, and grateful to my numerous teammates over the years"
The chants of “Beeeeaast” will no longer be heard in the international arena after much-loved Springbok prop Tendai ‘Beast’ Mtawarira announced his retirement from Test rugby yesterday.
Mtawarira bows out at the very pinnacle of his glittering career following South Africa’s heroics at the Rugby World Cup.
The Beast was simply magnificent in the final against England, destroying his opposite number in the set scrums, and with there being little more than the 34-year-old can achieve in the green and gold jersey, he is saying goodbye at the height of his powers.
Capped 117 times for his adopted country, only Victor Matfield and Bryan Habana have played more Tests for the Boks than the former Zimbabwean.
Mtawarira made the most appearances for a South African Super Rugby team (159 for the Sharks); won the Rugby World Cup (2019); Tri-Nations (2009); Rugby Championship (2019); a series against the British & Irish Lions (2009) and the Currie Cup (in 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 Rugby World Cup is the perfect ending and cherry on top.
“I am grateful for the opportunities afforded to me by many top coaches at the Springboks and the Sharks, and grateful to my numerous teammates 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.”
Mark Alexander, president of South African Rugby, paid tribute to Mtawarira.
“Beast is someone who never complained, always put in the hard work and simply got on with his job in his typically unassuming way,” said Alexander.
“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.”