'Beast' Mtawarira remains important to the Boks as he approaches 100th Test
He’s a man of few words‚ but thankfully many scrums.
Tendai ‘the Beast’ Mtawarira will play his 100th Test on Saturday‚ a fact that was confirmed well before the team is named on Thursday.
He is that important to the Bok cause.
“He will definitely get picked‚” said Rassie Erasmus‚ following the trend set by his predecessors for their No1 choice.
In the murky waters of the scrum‚ Mtawarira has brought clarity to a succession of Bok coaches. He’s been their go-to man for the last decade.
Mtawarira who debuted at Test level in 2008 has been monumental to the Bok cause.
He has outlasted Peter de Villiers‚ Heyneke Meyer‚ Allister Coetzee and he’s remained relevant at the start of the Erasmus era.
Bok forwards coach Matthew Proudfoot‚ himself a former front ranker at the highest level‚ was in full recognition of the moment.
"When the moment comes‚ it will be a fantastic achievement for a very good man.
"The stats will show that he has started a large majority of his 99 Tests up to this point‚” reminded Proudfoot.
“It's an incredible achievement‚ especially when you consider his longevity in a really tough position where there's a lot of competition.
"This will be something to savour‚ and I'd like to see the pack respond to that and make it a special occasion. We want to cherish this moment for him and honour it accordingly."
Proudfoot explained that the vicissitudes of front row play requires its practitioners to show resilience and roll with the punches.
Mtawarira would not be approaching 100 caps if he too wasn’t prone to dips in form. Repeatedly he’s come out the other side having come to grips with what he needed to do.
His durability is beyond question.
"Beast takes care of his body‚ he works hard and does the extras‚” said Proudfoot.
“He's a professional. Beast also has a very good physique and confidence in his abilities‚ but he's also been prepared to learn and ride out the ups and down‚" said Proudfoot.