Cape Town - Veteran prop Tendai Mtawarira believes the Springboks are a side truly representative of South Africa as they prepare for Saturday's Rugby World Cup final against England.
Governmental pressures and a need to transform have accompanied South African sport for years now, and Mtawarira knows that better than most having been part of the Bok set-up for over a decade since making his debut in 2008.
The man affectionately known as 'Beast' was even the subject of a political debate during the 2010 international season when an ANC member of parliament suggested Mtawarira should not be playing for the Boks because he was born in Zimbabwe.
Now, all these years later, Mtawarira stands as the most capped black Springbok of all time with 116 Tests to his name and he is on the verge of his greatest achievement yet.
Now 34-years-old, Mtawarira considers himself 100% South African and he believes this Bok side under coach Rassie Erasmus is on the right track in terms of transformation.
"It is really important that the team is well represented," he said.
"I've had the privilege to see the team evolve to get to now … so many guys of colour who have been excellent and are deserving of their places in the squad.
"It is something Rassie was honest about, that we need to get the balance correct and we need to get a team that really represents our country.
"I think we have now achieved that. I think it has been good so far."
Mtawarira also had special words for his captain, Siya Kolisi.
"What Siya has achieved has been remarkable. For a young kid from Zwide township in Port Elizabeth to rise above his circumstances and become Springbok captain, and lead the way he has, it’s been inspirational to all South Africans – from all walks of life," he said.
"We are all proud of him, and we ultimately want to make it very special for him on Saturday.
"It would be amazing for South Africa for us to win the World Cup. A lot has gone into the preparation, and the road Siya has walked to get to here has been inspirational already.
"For that to be sealed off with winning the World Cup would be pretty amazing."
On a personal level, though, Mtawarira knows exactly what will be at stake on Saturday come kick-off at 11:00 (SA time).
"All the things I’ve achieved in my career, and the tough lessons I've had to learn, everything has led to this moment," he said.
"I'm very proud of this achievement to get here. I've walked a long road, and just looking forward to making it count on Saturday."
- Compiled by Lloyd Burnard