South Africa’s stalwart prop Tendai Mtawarira is looking to put a disappointing Super Rugby campaign with the Sharks behind him and pull on the green and gold again. Affectionately known as “Beast”, the Zimbabwe-born front rower cannot contain himself when thinking about England 2015. The 29-year old says: ‘I think it’s very exciting and more than ever we’ve got a great squad with great depth. There’s such a lot of talent in South Africa and obviously with the overseas-based players (too). This journey started four years back when coach Heyneke (Meyer) took over and we’re all very excited and hoping to be picked with for the World Cup squad.’
The Bok number one is looking forward to pulling on the new-look jersey specially designed for the World Cup. However he says the players will still need to do there bit if they are to dominate their opponents: ‘That’s obviously up to us as it’s a technical thing. But the jersey will help us bind as a front row.’ Ever humble, Mtawarira says he will have to work as hard as any other player to make sure he is in the final squad: ‘The World Cup is here very soon and I think we’re all excited and if you’re picked to be part of that World Cup squad, we’ll make sure that we go and do South Africa proud. I haven’t played much rugby this year but I’m very happy with my form and keep working hard. Coach Heyneke has told me that there will be certain requirements and I’ll need to meet those requirements so obviously there’s still a lot of hard work to do and that is true of other players as well. We have to get ready for all those Tests (Rugby Championship) in Johannesburg on the 29th of June and I still have a lot to work on and I want to keep improving as a player and make sure I please coach Heyneke.’
“Beast” says the South Africans started preparing a long time ago and it is all coming together now: ‘I would say the preparation actually started four years back. Coach Heyneke and his management team has always spoken to us about the World Cup so we constantly have it in the back our minds. That is the ultimate goal we’re chasing. So I think it’s becoming a reality now but I think the preparation has already been done. It’s very exciting to be in this position now and I can’t wait.’
The Harare-born loosehead has represented South Africa on 64 occasions and has scored two tries in the green and gold to date. Mtawarira will hope to line up for Meyer’s men against a World XV on July 11 at Newlands. The Springboks play their first Rugby World Cup fixture against Japan on September 19 in Brighton.