Springbok legend Tendai 'The Beast' Mtawarira announced yesterday his retirement from international rugby, four days after helping South Africa win the Rugby World Cup.
It was his third appearance at the global showpiece and after quarter-final (2011) and semi-final (2015) losses, he achieved his greatest ambition in Japan last Saturday. He started the final against England, which South Africa won 32-12, before being replaced by Steven Kirchoff soon after half-time in a pre-arranged move. Coach Rassie Erasmus included six forwards among his eight replacements in key World Cup matches, which allowed him to bring on virtually a new, fresh pack during the second half. Zimbabwe-born Mtawarira, 34, has been a fixture at loosehead prop since debuting in 2008 and he is the third most capped Springbok with 117 after retired duo Victor Mayfield and Bryan Habana. He combined powerful scrumming with loose-play surges that triggered chants of "Beast, Beast, Beast" from excited South African supporters. While many footballers in South Africa have nicknames, the 'Beast' is the only top-level rugby player to have one.