Heinz Schenk
2 minute read
2 Apr 2019
10:17 pm

Yes, Kaizer Matanzima’s grandson is turning into a Bulls star

Heinz Schenk

But young Simphiwe hopes to become rugby rather than political royalty.

Simphiwe Matanzima of the Bulls during the Super Rugby match between Vodacom Bulls and Chiefs at Loftus Versfeld on March 23, 2019 in Pretoria, South Africa. (Photo by Lee Warren/Gallo Images/Getty Images)

Given his surname and formative years spent in Queenstown, Simphiwe Matanzima – at the ripe age of 21 – is probably already used to being asked about his ancestry.

And, to answer the burning question, the promising Bulls loosehead is indeed the grandson of the late former president of the Transkei, Kaizer.

Yet Simphiwe isn’t focused on political royalty, he wants to become rugby royalty.

Nicknamed “Beast” at a high school, Matanzima naturally considered legendary Springbok prop Tendai Mtawarira an idol.

It’s little wonder then that he recounts last weekend’s gritty derby victory over the Sharks at Kings Park as a dream.

“It was surreal coming up against him,” Matanzima said from Loftus on Tuesday.

“It was such a special occasion, especially given that he equalled the record (for most Super Rugby appearances by a South African). I actually went up to him after the game to take a photo with him, but I didn’t tell him I was nicknamed after him. Maybe I’ll tell him the story next time.”

While Mtawarira is a more than suitable role model, Matanzima only wants to emulate his professionalism and humility because when it comes to the type of player he is, the former Queens College pupil considers himself one-of-a-kind.

“I don’t think I’m a traditional prop. I quite rate my level of skill and I believe I have nifty footwork,” he said.

However, props have always and will continue to be judged on their scrumming prowess.

Matanzima’s has already ticked that box tentatively, particularly after he memorably helped smash the Sharks scrum last weekend to force a match-clinching penalty.

The celebration was pretty memorable too.

“It was really special. To be honest, I was so caught up in the moment that I didn’t really know what I was doing,” said Matanzima.

“It was a great scrum. We needed it at the time. (Bulls scrum consultant) Daan Human has certainly helped me with my scrumming prowess. I also get along well with (first-choice props) Lizo Gqoboka and Trevor Nyakane. They’ll call me aside and always share some wisdom and insight.”

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