Various sources within the SA Rugby establishment yesterday confirmed that Tendai Mtawarira, or “The Beast”, as the popular prop is affectionately known, will not play for South Africa again until question around his eligibility for selection have been cleared up.
As a Zimbabwean citizen, living in South Africa and playing for the Sharks on a Specialist Skills Visa, Mtawarira has, according to legislation, probably never been eligible to represent his adopted country. That hasn’t stopped SARU from picking him, though – he has represented the Springboks in 22 tests over the last two seasons – but recent pressure from government has thrown a spotlight on his inclusion and the decision has now been taken to withdraw him from further international action, pending resolution of the situation.
In short, Beast needs to become a South African citizen before he can play for the Boks again. Now I’m sure you are all aware of the rules governing discussions of a political nature here, so I would urge you to exercise restraint in any comments you’d like to make on this point. I feel for the player, though – as it seems he has unwittingly become a pawn in an ongoing battle of wills between those who run rugby and those who run the country. Beast – we love you, man, and really hope that this can be sorted out as soon as humanly possible. You make us all proud and we look forward to welcoming you back into the green and gold where you belong.
At all times, though, it is vital that all players and officials must respect the law of the land. Nobody is bigger than that.Tweet