pastorshark

Hail the Beast!!


Written by Udo Lütge (pastorshark)

Posted in :In the news, Sharks, Springboks, Super Rugby on 6 Apr 2019 at 10:47

Some people say legends are born and others that they are made by the sweat of their brow. I’m not going to debate that and I’m not going to pick a side…I am, however, going to pay tribute to someone I consider a living legend: The Beast!

Tendai Mtawarira arrived in Durban as a young 19 year-old with nothing but a single suitcase in 2005. The man, who is affectionately know as Beast, has anything but a beastly character off the field. He is known for his friendly nature and his deep voice has always been accompanied by a big smile. He arrived from his home country, Zimbabwe, having made a name for himself as an under-19 star. When he arrived in KZN 14 years ago he was a flank-cum-lock who was very keen to make a name for himself.

The story of his transition to a world-renowned and respected prop is the stuff of legends. Dick Muir was the Sharks coach at the time and he called Beast into his office in 2006. That’s where he broke the news to Beast that, in his view, the youngster would never make it big as a flank or a lock. He was to short to be a lock and just too slow to be a loosie. And so Muir asked him to hit the club circuit in order to redefine himself as a prop. Tendai did not like the idea. There are stories of him trying to duck out of it: several times Muir had asked him how his club games had gone at prop; the youngster reported back that it had gone just fine; but when Muir contacted the club coaches for feedack it turned out that Beast either hadn’t played at all or hadn’t played at prop. That is when Muir took a drastic step. He called Beast in again and tore up his contract before his astounded eyes – the message was clear: you do this or you can look to play your rugby somewhere else. That is when Beast became the poster child of those who argue that “Legends are made by the sweat of their brow.” He knuckled down and gave it his all. He began playing C and B team club games and learnt something of the craft of prop play. At first he got by, but very soon he started crunching his opposition. Beast had always been a powerful player – that was what convinced Muir that he could make it as a prop – and soon Beast started adding the technique to the power. His apprenticeship at club level was astoundingly short and he soon got the opportunity to make his debut for the Sharks at Super Rugby level.

His chance came off the bench against the Waratahs on 9 February 2007. The Sharks had started the season off with a good win against the Bulls and they continued that form with a 22-9 win over the Waratahs. Beast had got his foot in the door in a happy setup that went on to have a top Super Rugby season…and he just went from strength to strength. It is incredible to think that only two years later he was a kingpin for the Springboks in the series against the Lions. Ironically there was some controversy regarding his place in the Springbok squad and before this series he had a nervous wait until the Minister of Sport – at the time it was Makhenkesi Stofile – approved his participation. Few will forget the first test of that series in Durban when Beast schooled Phil Vickery and laid the foundation for an important win. What a story it is…and it just adds to the legend. By this time Beast was a crowd favourite and the familiar roar of “Beeeeaaaasssst!” was enthusiastically taken up by crowds all over the country. Soon it would be even be roared by opposing fans all over the world.

On Friday evening Beast set a new Super Rugby record, achieving his 157th cap for the Sharks to become the most capped South African in Super Rugby. And that is just one stat that tells an incredible story. His fellow Zimbabwean, David Pocock, paid tribute to him in a message on social media before the game on Friday. He wrote: “Congratulations to the Beast, Tendai Mtawarira, on becoming South Africa’s most capped Super Rugby player this weekend,” wrote the 30-year-old Wallaby great. You’re a great ambassador for rugby and Zimbabwe and South Africa. Makorokoto mkoma!!!” (Congratulations elder brother!!!). Beast responded with: ”Thanks for your kind words munin’ina (young brother) David Pocock.” This humble man, who used to ride to practices on his bicycle and received a sponsored car before he even had a licence, has grown from humble origins to be a true legend. Since his debut for the Sharks in 2007 he has racked up those 157 caps. He made his Springbok debut – in what was a new position for him – only 16 months later on 14 June 2008 against Wales. Since then he has become the most capped prop in Springbok history with 107 props. Only Victor Matfield (127), Bryan Habana (124), John Smit (111) and Jean de Villiers (109) have been capped more often.

Beast has always met his challenges head on, he has seldom had major dips in form and he has displayed a work ethic second to none. Add to that the way he has interacted with fans, media, team-mates and opponents alike and one cannot help but be impressed. Beast is sure to leave the lasting legacy of a true legend and will be spoken about with respect and appreciation for generations to come. His loyalty to the Sharks has been legendary too. In a time when top stars leave these shores to make the big money after every world cup, Beast has stayed with the Sharks…and has made a point of doing it. We salute you for that, sir! And we thank you!! Should you ever read this article and the comments below, we hope that they communicate to you that you have been appreciated, respected and – I dare say – loved. So once again: THANK YOU! And we wish you all the best for the time that remains to you on the rubgy field and beyond.

Hail the Beast!



55 Comments

  • Good article. We are very fortunate to have men if his Calibre and Character in our union.

  • Comment 1, posted at 06.04.19 11:40:14 by coolfusion Reply
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  • Your sermons must make attending church really worthwhile.

  • Comment 2, posted at 06.04.19 11:44:36 by Bokhoring Reply
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  • @Bokhoring (Comment 2) : :mrgreen:

  • Comment 3, posted at 06.04.19 12:01:33 by pastorshark Reply
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  • @coolfusion (Comment 1) : Thanks…and absolutely!

  • Comment 4, posted at 06.04.19 12:01:57 by pastorshark Reply
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  • True legend. Probably the player that I’ll associate the Sharks with most! I’m glad the team saved their best performance for this game and that he had a blinder himself!

  • Comment 5, posted at 06.04.19 15:42:51 by HeinF Reply

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  • @HeinF (Comment 5) : Brilliant! Beast deserved that. In his interview after the game he looked like the cat that got the cream!

  • Comment 6, posted at 07.04.19 07:53:07 by pastorshark Reply
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  • Nice Beast article here by Jon Cardinelli:
    https://www.sarugbymag.co.za/beast-mtawarira-a-national-treasure/

  • Comment 7, posted at 07.04.19 16:39:10 by pastorshark Reply
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  • Guys like Beast are what we need at the Sharks. I don’t want any pretenders, true bloods like this guy carries a union through difficult times. Utmost respect.

  • Comment 8, posted at 07.04.19 17:48:31 by Quintin Reply

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  • @Quintin (Comment 8) : Hear, hear…

  • Comment 9, posted at 07.04.19 22:16:10 by pastorshark Reply
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  • True Sharks legend!!! Awesome player!!! Awesome person!!!

  • Comment 10, posted at 08.04.19 20:00:57 by JD Reply
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  • @coolfusion (Comment 1) : @pastorshark (Comment 4) : would just love Beast to stick around long enough to go to 128 Bok caps!!! Would love him being the most capped Bok!!!

  • Comment 11, posted at 08.04.19 20:03:22 by JD Reply
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  • @JD (Comment 11) : this season could add another 10 caps leaving him just 11 to go!

  • Comment 12, posted at 08.04.19 20:10:07 by JD Reply
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  • @JD (Comment 11) : That would be wonderful…there was an article on news24 about the chances of Beast to go until the 2021 Lions series…wouldn’t that be something!

  • Comment 13, posted at 08.04.19 20:20:14 by pastorshark Reply
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  • @pastorshark (Comment 13) : Beast will be 35 in 2021, Os was 35 in 2007 when he played a full 80 in the RWC final. Beast is still currently one of the best looseheads in world rugby, while I realize he isn’t ageless, he does not show signs of slowing down at all.

  • Comment 14, posted at 08.04.19 21:59:22 by Dancing Bear Reply
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  • @pastorshark (Comment 13) : @Dancing Bear (Comment 14) : would be one of what I’d think would be very few players to play against two touring Lions teams!!!

  • Comment 15, posted at 08.04.19 22:28:30 by JD Reply
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  • @Dancing Bear (Comment 14) : Os had a good complete rugby free break of a couple of years between hid world cups.His schedule was also a lot sparser than the one Beast has been nlaying.
    I think Thomas is already a better option than Beast and he should be starting with Coenie,Thomas is too good tone sitting on the bench.

  • Comment 16, posted at 08.04.19 23:01:13 by The hound Reply
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  • @Dancing Bear (Comment 14) : That’s pretty much what the news24 article said…

  • Comment 17, posted at 08.04.19 23:09:25 by pastorshark Reply
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  • @JD (Comment 15) : That’s also something the news24 article said…

  • Comment 18, posted at 08.04.19 23:10:51 by pastorshark Reply
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  • @The hound (Comment 16) : Do you think the powers that be – or even Thomas himself – will want him to move back to loosehead? Genuine question. I hear you and think you have an excellent point. I do think, though, that the experience Beast brings to the table remains a wonderful asset…even if that were just as part of the squad. I think in the new reality in which SA teams lose experience at a rate of knots someone like Beast is worth his weight in gold.

  • Comment 19, posted at 08.04.19 23:15:45 by pastorshark Reply
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  • @The hound (Comment 16) : @pastorshark (Comment 19) : I think it would be beneficial for both of you to listen to the pre-match presser where the coach sat with Beast and Thomas. Thomas was asked this very question, and his answer was that he is very happy being the at Tighthead because he gets to scrum against the best loosehead in the world (Beast) every day at practice. He said he watches everything Beast does, and all he wants to do is learn from him while he is still there. Thomas will be a great, no question, but he is humble, and this is what will make him great. It was really nice to see that answer from him.

  • Comment 20, posted at 08.04.19 23:23:25 by Dancing Bear Reply
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  • @The hound (Comment 16) : What you say is accurate, but please ready my above post. Seems Thomas is happy to be learning from Beast for now.

  • Comment 21, posted at 08.04.19 23:24:33 by Dancing Bear Reply
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  • @Dancing Bear (Comment 20) : Besides the fact that Thomas is a damn good tighthead right now, and has actually performed better on the international stage at TH vs LH. He’s a prop, who mature in the positions more slowly than others, Os in 1995, and Beast in 2008/2009 were anomalies, very young to be such good props. Thomas is also a very young Bok, and he will be a great for many years to come.

  • Comment 22, posted at 08.04.19 23:38:13 by Dancing Bear Reply
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  • @Dancing Bear (Comment 20) : Thomas impresses me precisely because of that attitude.
    That is kind of my point…even when the time comes that Beast is relegated in the pecking order, he would still be hugely valuable and influential because of his experience and what others could learn from him.

  • Comment 23, posted at 08.04.19 23:38:39 by pastorshark Reply
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  • @pastorshark (Comment 23) : Hound’s points about the amount of game time Beast has had vs Os prior to 2007 is accurate. This is one reason why I think Beast is even more of an anomaly, he has not had many injury problems (thank G-d), and his few injuries have been to his legs, not what we fear most for front rowers, the neck or back. Beast is still a world class loosehead, and with the WP Ginger just coming back for one season to make the RWC squad and then buggering off back to Europe, I would start Beast every day, as his passion for the Sharks and Boks is unrivaled. I don’t see Beast going more than a couple more years, so Thomas will be right there to fill his massive shoes when he moves on.

  • Comment 24, posted at 09.04.19 00:01:03 by Dancing Bear Reply
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  • @Dancing Bear (Comment 24) : Do you think Thomas will go back to loosehead?

  • Comment 25, posted at 09.04.19 00:09:03 by pastorshark Reply
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  • @pastorshark (Comment 25) : What it sounded like to me from his answer in the presser, he plans to move back to loosehead in the future. I think he will do whatever the Sharks and Boks ask of him, he is that kind of player and person. He sounded like he was studying Beast day in and day out so he could learn more about being a loosehead. Based on current personnel, I don’t think now is the time to move him to LH. Behind Coenie and Thomas, we are very weak at TH, and Juan is doing an admirable job backing up Beast at LH, with nobody else really pushing for the position. So based on that, I would continue to do what Rob is doing, and notice, he is replacing his starting props around 50 minutes, so all four props are getting significant game time, while not being overworked. I think the fact Thomas can scrum at both TH and LH will be his ticket to the RWC squad, as I think we take an odd number of props, and having coverage for both is a huge plus. Apparently Nyakane can’t prop at LH anymore, although the Bulls young new LH apparently can also scrum at TH effectively, he is like the young Beast in my view.

  • Comment 26, posted at 09.04.19 00:21:46 by Dancing Bear Reply
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  • @Dancing Bear (Comment 26) : We should also consider Johnny Meyer we can’t keep him hanging while vacillating on Tomas for th future lh

  • Comment 27, posted at 09.04.19 17:27:30 by coolfusion Reply

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  • @coolfusion (Comment 27) : Or the other guys in line. We may end up creating a shortage

  • Comment 28, posted at 09.04.19 17:30:04 by coolfusion Reply

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  • I say Thomas should play straight and we need plan post Beast era now. And for my money Thomas would be better off slowly replacing Beast so we know for sure who is in line after Coenie who is also going to move or age.

  • Comment 29, posted at 09.04.19 17:33:17 by coolfusion Reply

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  • We should also consider a Vincent Koch if possible a future of kick du toit and Kerron doesn’t sound too bad if we could make it happen.

  • Comment 30, posted at 09.04.19 17:39:21 by coolfusion Reply

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  • @coolfusion (Comment 30) : Koch not kick

  • Comment 31, posted at 09.04.19 17:39:37 by coolfusion Reply

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  • @coolfusion (Comment 27) : What has happened to Johnny Mayer, we didn’t even use him when Thomas benched at loosehead?

  • Comment 32, posted at 09.04.19 18:43:51 by Dancing Bear Reply
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  • @Dancing Bear (Comment 32) : He is in our official Super Rugby squad…

  • Comment 33, posted at 09.04.19 19:56:47 by pastorshark Reply
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  • @pastorshark (Comment 33) : Right, and we have not seen nor heard anything about him since the first pre-season game. I know the Sharks have been poor in the past with getting information out regarding players and injuries (I still don’t think we have heard anything official about Chilliboy), but this year has been just ridiculous. We know Cam’s injured, but for how long? And so many other questions.

  • Comment 34, posted at 09.04.19 21:14:57 by Dancing Bear Reply
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  • @Dancing Bear (Comment 34) : You’re right…it is ridiculous. We only know about Cam from Butch James in the commentary booth. I can only assume JHM is injured.

  • Comment 35, posted at 09.04.19 21:33:12 by pastorshark Reply
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  • @Dancing Bear (Comment 34) : When you hear the news about Chilliboy, yet the Sharks remain quiet, it makes one wonder why they are being quiet about the other “missing” players. I really hope and pray that what we saw with Chilliboy has not become a systemic problem within the Sharks.

  • Comment 36, posted at 09.04.19 21:35:04 by Dancing Bear Reply
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  • @Dancing Bear (Comment 34) : really poor!!!

  • Comment 37, posted at 09.04.19 21:36:26 by JD Reply
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  • @pastorshark (Comment 35) : While I wouldn’t hope for an injury to anyone, I really hope it is that and not something like Chilliboy. The lack of news is disconcerting to say the least. Also, where is Ruan Botha? He was just dropped and that’s it? Is he injured or is it something more sinister? You see my point….this lack of information leaves an environment ripe for conspiracy theories and such.

  • Comment 38, posted at 09.04.19 21:44:13 by Dancing Bear Reply
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  • Oh and what about Sbu? No word, and he has been missing 2 matches now. We heard nothing about Kobus until the last couple games. Tyler Paul, no more news on him, nothing new on Jean Luc, just terrible when you consider just how many top flite players are “missing”.

  • Comment 39, posted at 09.04.19 21:49:27 by Dancing Bear Reply
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  • @Dancing Bear (Comment 26) : And back to the previous subject, let’s not forget that Thomas went from being schooled by Van Rooyen to being a dominant tighthead in one SuperRugby season. As great a TH Coenie has become, it took him far longer to make that successful transition. I am normally strongly in favour of props specializing but Thomas just may be one of the rare exceptions that can excel on both sides (thinking Gqoboka is another and the Sharks should go after him).

  • Comment 40, posted at 09.04.19 22:00:30 by Dancing Bear Reply
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  • All that would be terrible…and you are right to say that no communication creates an atmosphere where such speculations result. But I do think it is just a case of Sharks not giving any injury reports. Botha apparently has a foot? injury. What possible reason could there be for not sharing any such information?!

  • Comment 41, posted at 09.04.19 22:23:03 by pastorshark Reply
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  • @Dancing Bear (Comment 39) : think Botha is injured (foot) as I saw some pics of him with crutches! As for Nkosi I think he is also injured but really not sure!

  • Comment 42, posted at 09.04.19 22:25:23 by JD Reply
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  • The Sharks communication machine is rusted and frozen still. Just think how easy it would be to list the top flite players that are injured, give a report on each and remind all the supporters how well the Sharks are doing considering they are missing so many core players (this is actually true). But without that, all we hear is the constant trope here of no consistency, never play to their potential, etc.

  • Comment 43, posted at 09.04.19 23:34:53 by Dancing Bear Reply
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  • @Dancing Bear (Comment 43) : It is actually bewildering to me how a professional sports organization can have such poor (or rather nonexistent) PR. The average supporter with no PR experience would do a much better job if they were provided the information. There has been absolutely no official announcement about Burden being a Shark again, other than a mention on the side in a presser that he is signed to the end of SuperRugby. Just shocking stuff from the team I love, and at a time they have a very capable squad and a real chance at a title.

  • Comment 44, posted at 09.04.19 23:39:07 by Dancing Bear Reply
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  • Let’s just go through those that one would have expected to start or share the starting spot who are now missing…..Akker/Chilliboy, Ruan Botha, Tyler Paul, Jean Luc, Phillip (until now), Cam, Louw, Ward, Nkosi, then going one tier down, John Hubert Meyer, Burden, that’s 12 members of the SuperRugby squad out of action. We should all be jumping up and down celebrating 1st in conference and 2nd highest points differential after 7 games, with all these guys missing. Kind of puts the performance so far this season into perspective.

  • Comment 45, posted at 10.04.19 01:02:00 by Dancing Bear Reply
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  • @Dancing Bear (Comment 45) : It kind of makes you think that this is the one SR that is ripe to be picked by a side that can sort themselves out quicker. We have the people we have the perfect stage. It pisses me off that we don’t realize it and allow games like stormers and bulls to endanger that.

  • Comment 46, posted at 10.04.19 07:38:00 by coolfusion Reply

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  • @Dancing Bear (Comment 45) : Is Johnny injured? Never seemed to get a fair shot.

  • Comment 47, posted at 10.04.19 08:42:51 by Byron Wright Reply

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  • @Dancing Bear (Comment 45) : can add also van Wyk to you “missing” list. Making it 13 of the Super rugby squad that’s been “missing” for 3 or more weeks!? WOW :shock: :shock: :shock: Gives me a whole new perspective on the teams performances!!!

  • Comment 48, posted at 10.04.19 09:46:52 by JD Reply
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  • @Byron Wright (Comment 47) : He must be injured! Surely!! But no news…

  • Comment 49, posted at 10.04.19 12:36:04 by pastorshark Reply
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  • @JD (Comment 48) : Exactly the point, if the Sharks communications machine were working at all, that information would be out everywhere so all the supporters can have a little more perspective on the inconsistent performances. You could also add Mvovo to the list who was not used at all until 2 games ago. So that’s 14, although I think that the coach just chose not to use him.

  • Comment 50, posted at 10.04.19 15:26:31 by Dancing Bear Reply
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  • @Byron Wright (Comment 47) : I would think he is injured otherwise surely he would have been used in the Bulls match where Juan was rested and Thomas benched at loosehead. But who knows with this Sharks team, where the most basic news is nonexistent. I mean not even rumours.

  • Comment 51, posted at 10.04.19 15:30:04 by Dancing Bear Reply
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  • All hail to the Lord of the Field
    To the magic and mystery he brings
    To the rugby in his story

    All hail to the Lord of the Field
    To the magic and mystery he brings
    To the fields of ancient glory

    et al, with thanks and apologies to Styx (from the great lp – Pieces of Eight) :mrgreen:

    All hail Beastie Boy.

  • Comment 52, posted at 11.04.19 08:33:35 by Salmonoid the Subtle Reply
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  • @Salmonoid the Subtle (Comment 52) : Cool…

  • Comment 53, posted at 11.04.19 09:06:25 by pastorshark Reply
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  • I wonder if Anton Bresler has a tattoo of Beast, I think his life was in Beasts hands on more than one occasion.
    Iconic, unforgettable images of Beast safely holding a completely upside down Bresler after taking the restart ball.

  • Comment 54, posted at 11.04.19 11:19:49 by Salmonoid the Subtle Reply
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  • @Salmonoid the Subtle (Comment 54) : Like I said: legendary…

  • Comment 55, posted at 11.04.19 13:10:39 by pastorshark Reply
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