‘I’ll put my body on the line for the Boks’

2011-09-10 18:08

Springbok prop Tendai “Beast” Mtawarira says the Rugby World Cup in New Zealand is a once-in-a- lifetime opportunity for him and he is going to do everything in his power to help the Boks bring home the trophy.

“The atmosphere here has been electric since my arrival. I am extremely excited and I am going to put my body on the line for the ultimate cause of winning the World Cup,” the 120kg gentle giant said at the Springbok hotel on Friday.

“My wife and my two-month-old daughter are not here with me, but they are always with me in spirit. I am definitely missing them, but it is all part of the job. It’s the beginning of the tournament and it’s time to focus on the task at hand. They will be joining up with me later in the tournament,” he said.

The 26-year old Sharks prop has been included in the starting line-up ahead of the impressive Bulls loose head prop Gurthrö Steenkamp for today’s World Cup opener against Wales at Westpac Stadium.

He is aware that he has to go hammer and tongs and give it everything he’s got because he has Steenkamp breathing down his neck.

“It’s great to have cover like that on the bench. When you know the other man coming on is just as good a player, it just makes you more determined to go out and not hold anything back.”

“The Beast”, as he is fondly known, demolished the British and Irish Lions scrum in 2009 that had many Welsh players in their side. Although it gives him a psychological advantage, he believes it is in the past now and that he has moved on to another level.

The Zimbabwean-born player, who has represented his adopted country in 28 tests, says he is a South African at heart.

“I love this country. It has become my home. It is everything to me. Wearing the green and gold of the Springboks is a huge honour for me. That jersey is part of me. The green and gold flows in my blood. I feel just as much pride as any other guy in the team,” said the confident player.

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