Beast nears decision on Springbok future
Veteran prop targets World Cup before contemplating retirement
Veteran prop Tendai “Beast” Mtawarira will make a decision on his Springbok future later in 2019 after the World Cup in Japan.
Mtawarira‚ who has played more than 100 Test matches for the Boks‚ is facing stiff competition from the younger members of the team such as Lizo Gqoboka‚ who had a terrific Super Rugby season with the Bulls.
The Boks host Australia in the first match of the Rugby Championships at Ellis Park on Saturday and forwards coach Matt Proudfoot insisted that Mtawarira still has a lot of rugby left in him.
“I will make that decision [to retire] later on in the year‚” said the 33-year-old Mtawarira.
Mtawarira said competing with younger players who are stepping up is good for everyone on the team as they push him to work even harder as the Boks bid to win the World Cup.
“There is a lot of competition in the national team and it is good because it pushes me to work even harder‚” he said.
“The planning process has been great from coach Rassie [Erasmus] and the management team. There has been a buy-in from the players and in terms of the balance there is experience and good youngsters who are coming through.
“What is left is for us to go out there and play.
“Obviously winning the World Cup will be a highlight of my career and being part of a successful World Cup wining team will mean everything. I am excited. For the past four years we have been thinking about 2019 because of the big occasion of the World Cup.
“For myself‚ it has just been about getting my mind and body right for the Springboks. Physically I feel great‚ my last game was against the Waratahs for the Sharks in Super Rugby a while ago. I have had enough time to recover from my injury and I feel very fresh.
“The past few weeks have been great to be put through our paces and really get fit and stronger for the type of rugby that we want to play.”