Tendai Mtawarira, the muscular Springbok loosehead prop returns for the Test against Wales this afternoon at the Mbombela Stadium, but coach Heyneke Meyer this week weighed his words carefully when asked whether Beast was “relieved”.
Last week when Mtawarira, pictured, was moved to the bench to allow Gurthro Steenkamp to run out for his 50th Test, Meyer said he spoke to the former Zimbabwean and that Mtawarira was backing Steenkamp all the way.
“Gurthro performed very well last week and Beast made a valuable impact when he replaced him in the second half,” said Meyer.
“But we work with a squad system where players have to be managed.
“We decided to recall Beast as he forms part of the settled combination with Bismarck and Jannie du Plessis,” said Meyer.
“But yes, to answer the question, Beast is delighted to be back.”
The 28-year-old Mtawarira, who has starred in 54 Test matches since making his debut back in 2008 – incidentally against Wales in Bloemfontein under former Bok coach Peter de Villiers – has always treasured wearing the
No 1 Green and Gold jersey.
“It feels great to be starting again,” said the big man this week after the team announcement at White River on the outskirts of Nelspruit in Mpumalanga.
“There’s always the hunger to be playing for the Boks and you realise it once again when you started off the bench the previous week.”