Rudolph Jacobs
Rugby Journalist
2 minute read
21 Nov 2014
3:35 pm

Breather for the Beast

Rudolph Jacobs

It’s important for Springbok rugby to find suitable backup for prop Beast Mtwarira, and there is no better time than the present.

FILE PICTURE: Tendai "Beast" Mtawarira of South Africa charges upfield during the International match between Scotland and South Africa at Murrayfield Stadium on November 17, 2013 in Edinburgh, Scotland. (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

And for this reason, it’s important how Trevor Nyakane shapes against Italy  in Padua tomorrow, says Bok coach Heyneke Meyer.

“In the front row Beast has played a lot. I don’t believe in resting players, but he was struggling in the last game, got cramped, so I don’t want to lose him now,” said Meyer.

“But by saying that, if Beast gets injured in a World Cup for instance, he is clearly No 1 now, Trevor will step up, Beast can’t start every game in a World Cup, it’s hopefully seven games in a short period.”

It’s also important not to forget what Gurthro Steenkamp, a stalwart of many Bok campaigns, can do, said Meyer.

“I know what Gurthro can do. A fit Gurthro is still up there with the best, so Trevor and Gurthro will get some game time,” said Meyer.

“Trevor was brilliant from the bench, he is improving a lot as a player, he is really fit, but it’s different to play 15-20 minutes late in the match when the game opens up, when there’s not a lot of scrums, so the test is for him to start.”

Meyer recalled an incident a few years back under former coach Peter de Villiers to illustrate what Italian strongman Martin Castrogiavanni can do.

“Castrogiavanni is one of the best in the world. A few years back when Leister played the Boks they totally outscrummed us that day, so I know what they can do.

“We have to find answers on this tour and there’s no better time than now, and then Gurthro is also experienced and he will also get an opportunity, to get some game time, so the two of them will have to put up their hands now,” said Meyer.

A strenuous conditioning programme has seen Nyakane regain the Bok coach’s favour after breaking team protocol just over a year ago.

“Trevor has come through and has really improved, he must show he can play there and get more starts, great opportunity,” said Meyer.