Tendai ‘The Beast’ Mtawarira tips Springboks to beat All Blacks

Tendai Mtawarira is enjoying life after rugby. He is currently running his eye over emerging talent at his annual boot camp at Kings Park. Photo: Supplied

Tendai Mtawarira is enjoying life after rugby. He is currently running his eye over emerging talent at his annual boot camp at Kings Park. Photo: Supplied

Published Jul 14, 2023


The All Blacks are a good team, but they have weaknesses that the Springboks can exploit in Saturday’s big match in Auckland, and the South Africans will win a tight tussle.

That is the booming prediction of ‘The Beast’, the third-most capped Springbok of all time.

Tendai Mtawarira, as he is known to his mother, tipped the Boks to win at Mount Smart Stadium after he had worked up a sweat at the annual boot camp he holds at Kings Park to develop young talent.

Since retiring in 2019 with a World Cup winner’s medal around his neck, the 37-year-old has been passionately giving back to rugby via his Beast Foundation.

He is involved in a number of business ventures and is a board member at the Sharks, but he says his greatest joy is working with youngsters who are short on opportunity, but big in their dreams.

“Life is good … I’m having lots of fun and keeping very busy,” Mtawarira said.

“But what gives me a special pleasure is inspiring youngsters to believe that anything is possible. I tell them that I arrived in Durban on a bus from Zimbabwe with nothing but a backpack of clothes. I had nothing, but ended up playing 117 Tests for South Africa and won a World Cup.

“I tell them they can do it too. It is about working hard, listening to advice and making good choices.”

To that end, the Beast Boot Camp places a strong emphasis on life skills, health, nutrition and financial education. Each year, 65 kids from underprivileged areas are invited to the camp, and they spend three days under his keen eye.

“I’m definitely seeing some potential new Beasts, but half of the kids are girls,” he smiles. “We are big on gender equality. We want rugby to be enjoyed by all, and there is talent here of all descriptions.”

There is nothing small about anything the Beast does, and five of the kids who show the most application and potential will go to Paris to watch the Boks play Scotland at the World Cup in September.

Mtawarira will be there to cheer on his old teammates, but he says he is only too happy to be in the stands.

“I was so privileged to have the career I did. I look back with so much fondness on my career. There is not one fibre of regret in my body, no hint of jealousy whatsoever when I watch the boys.”

He said he watched last week’s match against Australia with delight.

“I had been expecting a rusty start from us, but we dismantled the Aussies. They folded, they were crushed!

“No other team in world rugby has the depth of our quality. I know from experience just how good Rassie (Erasmus) and Jacques (Nienaber) are. They are always one step ahead, and they leave no stone unturned.

“I recall when we lost that pool game to New Zealand in the 2019 World Cup, they did not flinch. They were calm because they knew they had their ducks in a row. That gave us the confidence to shrug off the defeat and go all the way.”

And the big one against the All Blacks in Auckland on Saturday morning?

“We can take them. Definitely! I watched the All Blacks play the Pumas last week. They played very well, but I saw weaknesses in their game, and you can bet Rassie and Jacques saw them too. I won’t mention them, but we can exploit those weaknesses. The Boks will win!”

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