Cape Town - Springbok prop Tendai ‘Beast’ Mtawarira has heaped praise on Ireland counterpart Tadhg Furlong ahead of their clash in Dublin on Saturday (kick-off 19:30 SA time).
Mtawarira, who is set to play his 96th Test for the Springboks, told media in Dublin on Tuesday that he was relishing the prospect of facing Furlong.
The 24-year-old front ranker boasts 19 Tests for Ireland but it was his performances in three Tests for the British and Irish Lions against New Zealand earlier this year that caught the eye of Mtawarira.
"Going up against Furlong, I watched him in the Lions series. He did very well. I have got huge respect for him," Mtawarira was quoted as saying on the Irish Independent’s website.
According to Mtawarira, Furlong is the best in his position in the northern hemisphere.
"He's a great tighthead. He has obviously made his mark as the best tighthead up north. I am looking forward to the challenge on Saturday. First and foremost, he is solid at set-piece, he also gets around the park, gets through some work. In that respect, he is definitely the best."
Mtawarira did not play in the Springboks’ last Test outing - against the All Blacks in Cape Town last month - but is expected to return to the team for Saturday’s clash.
The Springbok team will be announced on Thursday.