Bongi Mbonambi and the transformation of the Bok front row
King Price is no stranger to change. (In fact, they embrace it at every turn!) So, we’ve teamed up with them to showcase players who are transforming the world of rugby and adding shine to the Springboks’ glory.
Mbongeni "Bongi" Mbonambi's journey has been quite something.
It wasn't too long ago that the 28-year-old was seen as just back-up to Malcolm Marx when it came to the Springbok pecking order. That No 1 hooker title was undisputed, in fact, and going down the list of hooker-candidates, there probably weren't many South Africans that would've screamed Mbonambi's name if the Bok coach had to ask who should be right in front.
But fast forward to 2019, and Mbonambi has evolved from a "second-string" option into a vital part of Rassie Erasmus' operation.
In many ways Mbonambi has eclipsed Marx - at one stage regarded by many as the best No 2 in the world - when it comes to the Boks and who should start in the front row.
While both have had their issues with the "basic" hooker duties, Mbonambi has shrugged the notion of him just being a "reliable" option. No, at the moment, he's the form Springbok hooker.
The Stormers No 2 played a pivotal role in changing what was for so long seen as a "traditional" front row in South African rugby.
Few Bok supporters would need any reminding of how he, Tendai Mtawarira and Trevor Nyakane ruined the Argentinian pack during their scrum battles earlier this season. And on an individual front, he's proved his worth as well.
It's not just the maul tries he's so seemingly instinctively scored that makes the Bethlehem-born player a must. His work rate and defence have done enough on its own. And then there's those nerves.
Those nerves were perfectly captured against France in 2018 when the Boks were behind in the last 10 minutes. In those crucial minutes and before, Mbonambi had five massive line-outs after coming off the bench as the Boks, who were under pressure until then, worked their way to victory.
He hit all five, and the last one led to the decisive try - which he scored himself after a monster maul from the Boks, of course. He delivered in those vital moments, and he hasn't stopped since.
Mbonambi has become one of the finest examples of what transformation can produce, and he's showing no signs of stopping.
He's no longer in anybody's shadow. He's a force on his own. And it's about time.
And, getting back to King Price and change… Have you noticed something different about their logo and Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages? You should! The insurer has forsaken their distinctive royal red colour and gone green and gold to back the bucks in the 2019 Rugby World Cup!
Head on over to their website and check it out. (Be sure to get a quote while you’re there, which puts you in line to win R10,000.)
King Price is also challenging your company to back the bucks by changing your logo to green and gold for the World Cup. Rise to the challenge, spread the word, and let's back the bucks all the way to the final!