Tendai Mtawarira will reach the milestone of his 100th Test when he runs out for South Africa against England on Saturday. He becomes only the sixth ever Springbok, and first ever Springbok prop to reach the milestone.
In the process, 32-year-old “Beast” also joins an elite group of only seven props who have ever made 100 or more Test appearances. They are Gethin Jenkins and Adam Jones (both Wales, British & Irish Lions), Jason Leonard (England, British & Irish Lions), John Hayes (Ireland, British & Irish Lions), Martin Castrogiovanni and Andrea Lo Cicero (both Italy) and Tony Woodcock (New Zealand).
Making his debut against Wales exactly ten years ago at the age of 22, Mtawarira has been an instrumental figure in the Springbok tight five, particularly against the British & Irish Lions in 2009.
Since then, the soft-spoken front rower has also established himself as a mainstay for the Sharks, with 146 Super Rugby caps to his name.
Coach Rassie Erasmus paid tribute to Mtawarira, whom he described as a great servant to Springbok rugby and a very good professional.
“Much like a typical front rower, ‘Beast’ is not someone who likes the spotlight,” said Erasmus. “However, his contribution to Springbok rugby during the past decade has been enormous and I want to congratulate him on reaching 100 Test caps for South Africa.
“It is a special achievement and while he deserves the accolades, I know he will be totally focussed on the most important job, and that is to face an extremely determined England side on Saturday in Bloem.”
Always humble Mtawarira spoke to Supersport about the accolade this week.
Only five other South African players have reached 100 Test caps for the Springboks.
They are Percy Montgomery (in 2008), John Smit and Victor Matfield (both in 2010), and Bryan Habana and Jean de Villiers (both in 2014).
The Mtawarira’s Natal North Coast family home was featured on South African lifestyle magazine show Top Billing recently, giving us a fairly unique glimpse into how he and his family spend their private time.
In the segment, he discusses that famous moment he held a Sharks lock above his head, and shows his most treasured piece of memorabilia in his trophy room.
Saturday 16 June, 17:05 local (16:05 GMT), Bloemfontein
15 Willie le Roux, 14 S’busiso Nkosi, 13 Lukhanyo Am, 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Aphiwe Dyantyi, 10 Handré Pollard, 9 Faf de Klerk, 8 Duane Vermeulen, 7 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 6 Siya Kolisi (c),
5 Franco Mostert, 4 RG Snyman, 3 Frans Malherbe, 2 Bongi Mbonambi, 1 Tendai Mtawarira
Subs: 16 Akker van der Merwe, 17 Steven Kitshoff, 18 Thomas du Toit, 19 Jean-Luc du Preez, 20 Sikhumbuzo Notshe, 21 Ivan van Zyl, 22 Jesse Kriel, 23 Warrick Gelant
15 Elliot Daly, 14 Jonny May, 13 Henry Slade, 12 Owen Farrell (c), 11 Mike Brown, 10 George Ford, 9 Ben Youngs, 1 Mako Vunipola, 2 Jamie George, 3 Kyle Sinckler, 4 Joe Launchbury, 5 Maro Itoje, 6 Brad Shields, 7 Tom Curry, 8 Billy Vunipola
Subs: 16 Luke Cowan-Dickie, 17 Joe Marler, 18 Harry Williams, 19 Mark Wilson, 20 Nathan Hughes,
21 Ben Spencer, 22 Danny Cipriani, 23 Denny Solomona