Springbok scrum coach Matt Proudfoot says Tendai « Beast » Mtawarira’s quiet and powerful contributions have mirrored the team’s excrellet Test performances this season.
Saturday’s Rugby Championship clash between Australia and South Africa at the nib Stadium in Perth will be Mtawarira’s 93rd Test. He is already the most capped Springbok prop of all time, but that is not the enduring quality that has impressed the coach.
Proudfoot says Mtawarira has rolled back the clock to the 2009 British and Irish Lions series in which he destroyed celebrated England tighthead prop Phil Vickery.
« He’s the guy with 92 Test caps and you have to respect that. It’s a pleasure to work with the most capped South African prop, » Proudfoot said.
« He’s eager to learn and he’s getting back to carrying the ball more and passing the ball more. His defence has also been exceptional.
« When a guy gets that, he becomes confident and that’s probably what’s evident in the squad at the moment.
« Coach Allister Coetzee said at the start of the year we wanted improvement and everybody has gone on his shoulder and improved everything.
« Mtawarira has rewarded us and that’s created the appetite in the team and that’s evident in everything.
« Beast wants to play for another couple of years and he has to be ambitious to do that.
« That’s been the growth in him. Just think back to what he did to the British and Irish Lions in 2009 and that’s Beast.
« It’s good to see he’s got that appetite at scrum-time again and he’s passionate about his scrumming. »