Formula One champion Lewis Hamilton and Barcelona forward Lionel Messi have been declared joint winners of the Laureus World Sportsman of the Year gong, with voting tied for the first time in the awards’ 20-year history.
World Cup-winning South African prop Tendai Mtawarira has today announced his retirement from international rugby.
The 34-year-old affectionally known as ‘Beast’ played 117 Tests for South Africa – the third most caps of any South African, and the most of any prop in the country’s history.
“I’ve been privileged to play this great game and achieve many career goals over the last 12 years of playing senior rugby,” Mtawarira said on social media.
“I’ve been blessed to have been part of teams that achieved so much success over the years, and I have many memories to cherish forever, but I can honestly say that winning the Rugby World Cup is the perfect ending and cherry on top.”
Thank you to South Africa for adopting me as a son.
Enkosi, Ngiyabonga, Ndatenda, Dankie ????????☺️????
My full statement⤵️ pic.twitter.com/4g7HQv02dV
— Tendai Mtawarira (@Beast_TM) November 6, 2019
Earning crowd chants of “Beast” with his dominant ball carries, Mtawarira once again lived up to his nickname in the World Cup final against England, winning scrum penalties and gaining metres with ball in hand.
The veteran was lauded by SARU president Mark Alexander for his hard-working yet soft-hearted character.
“Beast is someone who never complained, always put in the hard work and simply got on with his job in his typically unassuming way,” said Alexander.
“When he first got an opportunity at the Sharks, he rode a bicycle to training, which perfectly sums up not only his humbleness but his desire to make it to the top. He worked very hard to achieve what he has and we’re all very proud of him.”
The Springboks’ World Cup win capped off an already decorated Test career for Mtawarira who has won the Tri-Nations (2009), Rugby Championship (2019), and a series against the British & Irish Lions (2009).
As well as his record-setting Test career, Mtawarira has also made the most appearances in Super Rugby of any Springbok. Debuting in 2006 for Durban-based Sharks, he finished with 159 games played.
“I am grateful for the opportunities afforded to me by many top coaches at the Springboks and the Sharks, and grateful to my numerous teammates in green and gold, and black and white, over the years.”
Mtawarira has not yet made it clear whether his retirement extends to his Super Rugby career.