LONDON. — South Africa’s Zimbabwe-born prop Tendai “Beast” Mtawarira says he wants the Springboks’ Rugby World Cup triumph to “inspire people to work together and be better”.
Mtawarira was part of the side that beat England 32-12 in the World Cup final in Yokohama two weeks ago.
The 34-year-old said the amount of fans waiting to greet the Springboks on their return home was “just crazy”.
“That’s when it dawned on us we had done something big for the country,” Mtawarira told BBC Sport.
“We hope it has inspired people to work together and be better. South Africa has been in a bit of a slump, we have been having a lot of issues.
“We showed as a team people from different backgrounds can come together and achieve something great, so we want to inspire the nation to do the same.” Mtawarira has now retired from international rugby but is part of the Barbarians squad, coached by England boss Eddie Jones, who will face Fiji today.
“I love playing for the Babas, it’s always great,” added Mtawarira, who is nicknamed “Beast”.
“It’s my third time and I have great memories in the jersey – beating the All Blacks in 2009 – playing with guys I usually play against, you become great friends.
“Barbarian rugby is something that is a special part of rugby that should never go away.
“It is an exclusive club that you get invited to and you meet guys you usually play against; you have one week to become a team and do something special on the Saturday.” There are six Springboks in the Barbarians starting XV for today’s match against Fiji at Twickenham. World Cup winner Makazole Mapimpi features at left wing, while three Boks who were not part of the World Cup party — Curwin Bosch (flyhalf) Andre Esterhuizen (centre) and Dillyn Leyds (wing) — also feature in the backline. Up front, World Cup winner Mtawarira starts at loosehead prop, while Marco van Staden is another Springbok starting at flank.
Coach Eddie Jones has picked Irish veteran Rory Best as captain in what will be the hooker’s last international.
There are three more Springboks on the bench — scrumhalf Jano Vermaak, centre Lukhanyo Am and flyhalf Morne Steyn. South African-born Josh Strauss, who plays for Scotland, also starts at No 8, while Hencus van Wyk, a former Bulls prop currently playing in Japan, is on the bench.
Kick-off for today’s clash is scheduled for 4:30pm (Zimbabwean time).
The BaaBaas will also face Brazil in Sao Paolo (November 20) and Wales in Cardiff (November 30).
15 David Havili, 14 Dillyn Leyds, 13 Mathieu Bastareaud, 12 Andre Esterhuizen, 11 Makazole Mapimpi, 10 Curwin Bosch, 9 Joe Powell, 8 Josh Strauss, 7 Marco van Staden, 6 Pete Samu, 5 Tyler Ardron, 4 Luke Jones, 3 Enrique Pieretto, 2 Rory Best (captain), 1 Tendai Mtawarira
Substitutes: 16 Andrew Makalio, 17 Campese Maafu, 18 Hencus van Wyk, 19 Angus Cotrell, 20 Matt Philip, 21 Jano Vermaak, 22 Lukhanyo Am, 23 Morne Steyn. — BBC Sport.