Tendai ‘Beast’ Mtawarira was the hometown hero in Durban, and chants of ‘Beaaaaast’ followed his every movement. A city that is so often criticised for its failure to show up for major events, Durban obliterated that reputation on the day. Thousands gathered outside the City Hall and lined the streets of the CBD with Mtawarira, Kolisi, Am and Mapimpi the centres of attention.
At a function at Moses Mabhida Stadium, where the Boks were put through their obligatory daily schmooze with local officials, Mtawarira spoke about his retirement and ending an 11-year, 117-Test career on the ultimate high. Never a man of many words, Mtawarira thanked the people of Durban for accepting him as one their own since he first joined the Sharks back in 2006.
Former Sharks and Springbok coach Ian McIntosh was one of the high-profile names in attendance at that function. Revered in Sharks country, McIntosh’s reaction when Mtawarira completed his duties and was escorted back to the Bok bus told its own story of exactly how great this moment was.