Beast lost to Springbok rugby?
Beast cherishes the Springbok jersey. (Gallo Images)
Kimberley – Sharks loosehead prop Tendai “Beast” Mtawarira may be lost to Springbok rugby.
Mtawarira, who has played 22 Tests for South Africa, was omitted from the Bok side to play Wales in Cardiff on June 5.
His omission follows the insistence by the South African government that no overseas players may be included in national teams.
This is in spite of Mtawarira living in South Africa for longer than five years and that he has met the International Rugby Board’s (IRB) criteria. However, he apparently does not have a South African passport.
The concern around the 25-year-old’s inclusion was raised for the first time in November when Sports Minister Makhenkesi Stofile tried to stop him from touring France, Ireland and Italy with the Boks.
Stofile even went as far as placing advertisements in local media to protest Mtawarira’s inclusion. This after the player had already made his debut for South Africa in 2008.
SARU offered Mtawarira a contract in February with the hope that his application for citizenship would be speedily resolved. However, it is still dragging on for unknown reasons.
The issue also raised questions why other Zimbabweans such as Tonderai Chavhanga and Brian Mujati were allowed to play for the Boks by the South African government.
Sharks commercial manager Rudolf Straeuli confirmed to Sport24 on Wednesday that the Durbanites had followed all the regulations to get Mtawarira as a player.
“The Sharks followed all the correct procedures on Beast. We took all the legal steps. Beast joined our academy and is still with us,” said Straeuli.
Mtawarira may look to continue his rugby career elsewhere because of his treatment by the South African government.
On Wednesday he expressed his worry about the current situation on Twitter.
“To be left out of the Bok team for the first Test because of citizenship is really bad. I cherish that Bok jersey more than anything. I hope the problem can be resolved as soon as possible,” he said.
Rugby365 reports that SARU’s manager of national teams, Andy Marinos, confirmed that Mtawarira would need the government’s permission before he could play for the Boks again.