By Sports Reporter
ZIMBABWE-BORN rugby star, Tendai “Beast” Mtawarira will make history on Saturday by equalling former Springboks captain Adriaan Strauss’ record as the most capped South African Super Rugby player.
The 33-year-old veteran prop was on Wednesday named in Sharks’ starting line-up for Saturday’s clash against the Bulls at Kings Park in Durban which will see him matching Strauss’ record of having featured in 156 Super Rugby fixtures.
Retired former New Zealand international prop Wyatt Crockett holds the overall record with 202 matches played for the nine-time Super Rugby champions Crusaders.
Strauss represented the Cheetahs and then the Bulls, but Mtawarira has accomplished this record for just one team, the Sharks, since making his debut in 2007 and will break the South African record in his next appearance.
Mtawarira’s imminent record breaking feat comes after Sharks recently paid a special tribute to former Churchill and Peterhouse College pupil by engraving his name on their away jersey for the current Super Rugby season.
The Sharks’ white away strip for this season bears the text “Beast 144”, the number representing the fact that he was the 144th player to turn out for the franchise.
“Beast’s contribution to the Sharks cannot only be limited to the field of play, but also the role he’s played off it,” Sharks Chief Operating Officer Eduard Coetzee said.
“He has been a role model and mentor for numerous young props and players who have come through the system and who were able to learn so much from him, both as a player and human being.
“We are delighted that we can honour him in our 2019 Super Rugby away jersey design.”
Mtawarira said he was delighted to be honoured by his beloved Sharks.
“I am very humbled and consider it a massive honour to be celebrated by the Sharks with a jersey that honours me,” Mtawarira said.
“It’s been a great privilege to represent this team for many years and I look forward to a big 2019 season to commemorate this special moment.”
Mtawarira, who became the first ever Springboks prop to earn 100 Test caps, was recently in Zimbabwe where he visited his former school Churchill Boys’ High School, a place he honed his rugby skills.
The visit was necessitated by Psi International.
The rugby star also pledged his support for rugby development programmes being run in the country such as the Tag Rugby Trust before taking time to share his knowledge with players from the local rugby club Harare Sports Club.