Chatting to Sharks speedster Tonderai Chavhanga

Written by Benedict Chanakira (bchanakira2)

Posted in :Currie Cup, Original Content, Sharks, Super Rugby on 5 Sep 2014 at 09:05
Tagged with : , , , , , ,

Born in Masvingo, Zimbabwe and arguably the fastest Springbok of all time. Having been clocked at 10,27sec. He also has the record for most tries in a single Test match against Uruguay scoring six. BENEDICT CHANAKIRA spoke to Tonderai Chavhanga who now has a new lease of life in the Shark Tank.

Q:Tell us about your time from a young Prince Edward (one of Zimbabwe’s top rugby schools) Tiger to roaming in Cape Town to Wales?

A:After watching the historic World Cup final in ’95 and seeing rugby icons like Chester Williams and Jonah Lomu play I was truly inspired. I was also in awe of the major role that President Mandela used rugby in uniting a nation. When I started playing for the Prince Edward Tigers I knew I was on the path to achieving my eventual goal, which was to play for the Springboks. Being coached by a former Springbok, Ian Robertson also had a huge impact.

I received a bursary to University Of Free State and I would prove to be the break that I needed.

I was fortunate enough to have received support and backing from all my coaches, Jake especially because he selected me for SA Under 21 and then Chester Williams selected me for SA 7’s and as they say ‘the rest is history’

Q: How do you compare the Pro12 with Super Rugby or Currie Cup?

A: Pro12 is played in hideous weather conditions and Super Rugby isn’t (chuckles). Pro12 is a great competition but the pace and physicality of Super Rugby is second only to Test rugby.

Q: What where you up to before your current adventure with the Sharks?

A: Well after my two years at the Newport Dragons I came back to South Africa looking for an opportunity to play Super Rugby and I signed a Currie Cup contract with the Cheetahs but unfortunately due to my knee injury I did not take part in any of the Currie Cup games

Q: Back to rugby and you don’t look a shade rusty! How did Jake’s first call to you go like? When you started your journey, what was the toughest challenge you faced?

A: Being given a chance by Jake was such an answer to my petitions to God. My toughest challenge was getting over my injury because for almost a year my knee wouldn’t come right but with the support of my wife and prayers I got back on the pitch. I am really enjoying playing again and working hard on improving my performance each and every week

Q: What was the most memorable try you ever scored?

A: I think my try against the Chiefs in 2008 was pretty special but the 6 against Uruguay will always have a special spot in my rugby memory bank.

Q: Tell us about your time at the Sharks now? How is it being at the best team in South Africa?

A: My time at the Sharks has been rejuvenating. I feel blessed to be part of such an organisation that boast Springboks on the field and in the boardroom. Best way to describe the environment at the Sharks is that there is an infectious winning culture

Q: With the IRB-Olympic international window open for a nation switch, Would you consider playing for Zimbabwe again?

A: I have already received a call from John Falkenburg and told him that I would love to if given a chance however a lot would depend on how much game time I would have had with the Sharks!

Thanks to Tondie and the Sharks for the opportunity to have this chat.


  • “there is an infectious winning culture”

    I like that.

  • Comment 1, posted at 05.09.14 09:20:26 by FireTheLooser Reply
  • Great interview Benedict.

  • Comment 2, posted at 05.09.14 09:20:54 by gregkaos Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld Author
  • Good stuff…any indication as to whether he is injured now/how bad it is?

  • Comment 3, posted at 05.09.14 09:32:14 by pastorshark Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld Administrator
  • @FireTheLooser (Comment 1) : Took the words out of my mouth! Great insight from a special player. Good read.

  • Comment 4, posted at 05.09.14 09:37:18 by Another Nick Reply

    Another Nick
  • A real gent and a phenomenal athlete who’s been really unfortunate with injuries. Hope he gets a few injury-free years in.

  • Comment 5, posted at 05.09.14 09:39:09 by Big Fish Reply
    Big Fish
  • @gregkaos (Comment 2) : he is injured.

  • Comment 6, posted at 05.09.14 09:53:24 by bchanakira2 Reply
  • @pastorshark (Comment 3) : I was wondering the same thing.

    @bchanakira2 (Comment 6) : How bad is the injury?

    I’m loving the way he plays! He’s like a New Zealand wing, always making a break and then looking to offload. Definitely the shining light in our backline along with Sithole!!

  • Comment 7, posted at 05.09.14 09:55:46 by ChrisS Reply
  • Benedict, you deliver once again with a great interview. Really hope Chavhanga gets his chance with the Zimbabwean side! Didn’t know he hails from Masvingo. Growing up I spent every second holiday visiting my grandparents there.

  • Comment 8, posted at 05.09.14 10:04:25 by vanmartin Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld Author
  • Gud player indeed. Why this injury thing with him was swept under the mat bcos we heard bout Kleinhans, AC and Oosthuizen? Anyway wish all da best to da Sharks 2moro.

  • Comment 9, posted at 05.09.14 11:33:06 by sazito Reply

  • You forget how quick this bloke used to be.
    I just went through a few of his Youtube clips and the oke was BLITZ.
    In his prime, he must have been one of, if not, THE quickest to have ever played the game.

  • Comment 10, posted at 05.09.14 12:14:43 by John Galt Reply

    John Galt
  • @John Galt (Comment 10) : I heard a comment during the Commonwealth Sevens that Senatla is most likely the fastest rugby player over 40 meters. Don’t know how true that is though. As far as I know Carlin Isles is the fastest rugby player over a 100m, his best being 10.24s.

  • Comment 11, posted at 05.09.14 12:22:08 by vanmartin Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld Author
  • Let’s not forget that when he scored 6 against Uruguay, Odders was on the right wing, and 4 of Tondie’s tries came from offloads from Odders who came off his wing to assist on the left side on attack. Odders has always been one of the hardest working wings, and his hard work paid off big time for Tondie and the Boks in that match. I am hoping to see that spark again some time when they are both on the field.

  • Comment 12, posted at 05.09.14 14:44:18 by Dancing Bear Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld
    Dancing Bear
  • @vanmartin (Comment 11) : Carlin Isles was officially clocked at 4.22s over 40 yards in his NFL career. Extrapolating (I know it is not entirely accurate) to 40 m that would give him a time of around 4.6s.

  • Comment 13, posted at 05.09.14 15:13:30 by Bokhoring Reply
  • @John Galt (Comment 10) : @vanmartin (Comment 11) : speed is great to have but not everything! !!!! A player needs vision and skills as well. I have a feeling that the Sharks coaches are over obsessed with speed and are forgetting about about vision and skills.

  • Comment 14, posted at 07.09.14 22:24:09 by JD Reply
    Friend of SharksworldCompetition Winner Administrator

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