South Africa’s Rugby World Cup-winning front row Tendai “Beast” Mtawarira has announced his retirement from international rugby.
The 34-year-old, who represented the Springboks on 117 occasions made his decision after his side’s emphatic 32-12 win over England in the Rugby World Cup Final in Yokohama, Japan, last weekend.
Mtawarira, a 115kg prop, made his senior provincial debut for the Cell C Sharks in 2006 and won his first Springbok cap in 2008, setting numerous records along the way.
“Beast” became the third most-capped Springbok (behind Victor Matfield and Bryan Habana), the most capped prop, made the most appearances for a South African Vodacom Super Rugby team (159) and won the Rugby World Cup (2019), Tri-Nations (2009), Castle Lager Rugby Championship (2019), a series against the British & Irish Lions (2009) and the Currie Cup (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 team mates in green and gold, and black and white, over the years” added the “Beast”.
The President of South African Rugby, Mark Alexander, paid tribute to Mtawarira, who made his Springbok debut in the second Test against Wales in Pretoria in 2008, stating:
“’Beast is someone who never complained, always put in the hard work and simply got on with his job in his typically unassuming way. “’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.”