Mtawarira is now a real Springbok

NEWEST South African citizen Tendai "Beast" Mtawarira will be a welcome addition to a Springbok squad of 28 announced for next month's away leg of the Tri-Nations.

NEWEST South African citizen Tendai "Beast" Mtawarira will be a welcome addition to a Springbok squad of 28 announced for next month's away leg of the Tri-Nations.

There were no real surprises as South African Rugby Union president Oregan Hoskins read out the team in East London on Saturday night.

The squad is made up of 16 forwards and 12 backs and will be captained by John Smit.

The only player missing out, who played against Italy on Saturday, is lock Flip van der Merwe.

Mtawarira was banned last month from playing for the Springboks due to the government's position that no foreign player may be selected to represent a national team.

The Zimbabwean was finally granted South African citizenship by the Department of Home Affairs.

Hoskins welcomed the news.

"This is very gratifying news indeed and thanks to much hard work that has been going on behind the scenes over the past few months," Hoskins said.

"I'd like to personally thank Home Affairs Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma for her intervention to help in this matter."

About the squad, Springbok coach Peter de Villiers said: "It's a strong squad and we are fortunate to have so many of our front-line players fit and available.

"This shows that our management of the players is working well. There is a very strong core of experience in this group and there are several leaders too. The new players who have come in to the set-up this season are rewarded for their good performances."

The squad will leave in two groups on July 3 and 4 with the opening match on July 10 against the All Blacks at Eden Park, Auckland.

The second match will be played the following Saturday in Wellington against the All Blacks while on July 24 they will face Australia in Brisbane.

The full squad is:

Backs - Gio Aplon, Juan de Jongh, Jean de Villiers, Jaque Fourie, Bryan Habana, Francois

Hougaard, Butch James, Ricky Januarie, Zane Kirchner, Wynand Olivier, Ruan Pienaar, Morne Steyn.

Forwards - Andries Bekker, Bakkies Botha, BJ Botha, Schalk Burger, Jannie du Plessis, Ryan Kankowski,

Francois Louw, Victor Matfield, Tendai Mtawarira, Dewald Potgieter, Chiliboy Ralepelle, Danie Roussouw,

Smit, Pierre Spies, Gurthro Steenkamp and CJ van der Linde.

X