BLOEMFONTEIN- Sharks and Springboks front rower Tendai Beast Mtawarira has opened up about his milestone of earning his 100th Test cap on Saturday for the second test against England in Bloemfontein.
The 32 year old will become the first black African to reach the milestone and the sixth South African to do so.
It will be a monumental moment for the Zimbabwean born front rower, he said, “It’s pretty insane. I was going down memory lane in the last week just thinking about all those moments right in the beginning of my career,”
“I remember coming to the Sharks Academy as an eager young man just wanting to impress the coaches and get a spot in the Sharks team and that’s all I was thinking about at the time.”
He recalls the moment he changed his career plans, “I remember that moment. It was Dick Muir. He called me into the office. I was playing for the U-21s in the Currie Cup as a loose forward/lock,” Mtawarira explained.
“He called me in and said: ‘Beasty, I really like the way you play. But I don’t see you making it as a loose forward. I think if you convert to the front row and become a loosehead prop, that change could be really great for you and, who knows, you could become a Springbok’.
“In that very moment I didn’t believe him and I was upset because I had been working my whole career playing in the back row. I saw myself playing there forever and here was somebody trying to challenge me and make me change my body shape and everything … it was a really big challenge.”
He said his humbled by the support from all over Africa, “It’s really humbling. All over Africa people rally behind me and support me,” he said.
“From the very start when I was in Zimbabwe as a young boy, I never thought in my wildest dreams I would be on this platform.
“It’s not just about me, it’s bigger than me. It’s about the whole of Africa just being a shining light and showing that you can make it no matter where you come from. That’s the biggest legacy I want to leave behind.
Photo Credit- SA Rugbymag