'Beast' heads for 100-Test milestone

Prop Tendai 'The Beast' Mtawarira has served Springboks rugby with aplomb, says national coach Rassie Erasmus.
Prop Tendai 'The Beast' Mtawarira has served Springboks rugby with aplomb, says national coach Rassie Erasmus.
Image: Eugene Coetzee

South Africa prop Tendai Mtawarira will become only the second black person to represent the country 100 times when he lines up against England in Bloemfontein tomorrow (5.05pm).

Bryan Habana, who retired this year, was the first to achieve the feat, making 124 Test appearances.

Victor Matfield, John Smit, Jean de Villiers and Percy Montgomery are the other Springbok centurions.

South Africa coach Rassie Erasmus hailed Mtawarira as "a great servant of the game" when he chose him for the second Test against England.

Zimbabwe-born Mtawarira was named yesterday in a team showing two changes from that which started a thrilling 42-39 first Test triumph over England in Johannesburg last Saturday.

Erasmus described 32-year-old Mtawarira, popularly known as "The Beast", as "a great servant of the game and Springbok rugby and a very good professional".

"Much like a typical front rower, 'Beast' is not someone who likes the spotlight," said Erasmus of the forward who avoided media interviews this week.

"However, his contribution to Springbok rugby during the past decade has been enormous and I want to congratulate him on reaching 100 Test caps for SA.

"It is a special achievement and while he deserves the accolades, I know he will be totally focused on facing an extremely determined England side on Saturday." - AFP

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