Tendai Mtawarira has retired from international rugby just four days after helping South Africa to Rugby World Cup glory in Japan.
The 34-year-old prop put in an all-action performance as the Springboks dominated England 32-12 in Yokohama to win the Webb Ellis Cup for a record-equalling third time.
Mtawarira, nicknamed ‘The Beast’, steps away from South Africa duty having amassed 117 caps, during which time he also won a Tri Nations and a Rugby Championship with his country.
“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.
“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.
“I am grateful for the opportunities afforded to me by many top coaches at the Springboks and the Sharks, and grateful to my numerous team mates in green and gold, and black and white, over the years.”
🇿🇦 x 117 – Test Caps
x2 – Test Tries
x 159 – Vodacom Super Rugby caps
x1 – Rugby World Cup
x1 – Castle Lager Rugby Championship
x1 – Tri Nations
x1 – British & Irish Lions Tour
x3 – Currie Cups
Forever a legend of Springbok Rugby. pic.twitter.com/I9YhAthnqd
— Springboks (@Springboks) November 6, 2019
After making his Sharks debut in 2006, Mtawarira received his first Springboks cap two years later and only Victor Mayfield and Bryan Habana have appeared more times in a South Africa jersey.
South Africa Rugby president Mark Alexander added in a statement: “‘Beast’ is someone who never complained, always put in the hard work and simply got on with his job in his typically unassuming way.
“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.
“‘Beast’, thank you for what you’ve done for South African rugby, to show that Springboks can indeed be gentle giants, and for never putting your own interests above that of the team. We salute you and will miss you in green and gold.”