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Five of the Beast’s best

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In the first half Beast had been harshly sin-binned and when he returned to the fray he was seeing red

TENDAI The Beast Mtawarira, one of South Africas stars at the recent tournament, is calling it quits after winning the World Cup with the Boks in Japan.

Tendai Mtawarira has called time on a remarkable Springbok career that saw him amass 117 Tests over 11 years, between 2008 and 2019. Mike Greenaway picks five memorable performances by “Beast” in the green and gold.

South Africa vs British & Irish Lions, Durban, 2009

The first Test of the series against the tourists was on the Beast’s home turf of Kings Park and when he was tasked with doing a number on Lions tighthead Phil Vickery, he needed no second invitation.

The Boks blitzed the Lions in the opening quarter of that match, with Mtawarira in the vanguard. Then Bok forwards coach, Gary Gold, described it as the most complete domination of a tighthead prop at international level that he had ever seen. Vickery was substituted after just 45 minutes. The Boks won 26-21.

South Africa vs England, Bloemfontein, 2018

Beast celebrated his 100th cap for the Boks with a special performance in a victory that won South Africa the series against Eddie Jones’ England. England had taken an early 12-0 lead before Mtawarira sparked the home team’s recovery with a 20m burst with ball in hand – including a memorable goose-step – to set up a try for No 8 Duane Vermeulen. Beast had turned over the ball in a ruck and then accelerated up field with the supporting Vermeulen in pursuit. The Boks scored 23 unanswered points to take an unassailable 2-0 lead in the series.

South Africa vs England,
Yokohama, 2019

In the World Cup final, the 34-year-old Beast rolled back the years to deliver an excellent impersonation of his Vickery demolition back in 2009, this time on Dan Cole, who in the third minute had come on for injured Kyle Sinckler.

The Boks won a series of penalties by virtue of their scrum dominance and Handré Pollard goaled five of them to keep the scoreboard ticking in favour of the Boks. Cole looked decidedly worse for wear and at one stage it was feared that he would have to go off, thus resulting in non-contested scrums.

South Africa vs New Zealand, Hamilton, 2009

The Boks won the Tri Nations in fine style at Waikato Stadium, stunning the All Blacks on home soil. Bok captain John Smit had been moved to tighthead prop to accommodate Bismarck du Plessis at hooker, and Beast completed an all-Sharks front row.

It was a combination that was too strong for the All Blacks and the advancing Springbok scrum created opportunities for the Boks’ big kickers – Morné and Frans Steyn – to dominate proceedings. Beast won two scrum penalties that were converted into points. The Boks won 32-29.

South Africa vs England,
London 2008

What is it about the Beast and destroying England, and in particular Vickery? This was the first match between the Boks and England since the 2007 World Cup final in Paris, won by the South Africans. Instead of revenge for the English they were given a 42-6 defeat, a record loss for England at Twickenham. Mtawarira was in great form, again dominating the hapless Vickery.

In the first half Beast had been harshly sin-binned and when he returned to the fray he was seeing red, which proved to be bad news for the home team.