Eddie Chikamhi Senior Sports Reporter
THERE was no better way for Zimbabwe-born rugby legend Tendai “Beast” Mtawarira to wrap up the year than having his name feature prominently on several lists of the International Rugby Team of the Decade.
Mtawarira, who crowned his career with a World Cup medal under the South African colours this year, has since called time on his international career after a successful stint that also saw him smash some records along the way. His name was popular this week in most of the selections for the international team of the decade which have been dominated by New Zealand players.
Understandably, the All Blacks, who won two World Cups this decade, have dominated the selections for the best players in the last 10 years. Mtawarira made it in the best XV prepared by the BBC, Supersport and Rugby World Magazine, among many other platforms.
The 34-year-old prop was born in Zimbabwe and played 117 times for the Springboks, becoming an icon in South African rugby. He became the first black South African to play a century of Tests for the Springboks when he passed the margin in June this year.
He was a key member of the 2019 World Cup team that won gold in Japan recently. Mtawarira was also named in the Sharks Team of the decade following a successful career with the Durban outfit where he got a massive 159 Vodacom Super Rugby caps.
Mtawarira joined the Sharks’ senior team in 2006 and went on to become the most-capped Vodacom Super Rugby player in South African rugby history when he surpassed Adriaan Strauss’ record of 156 appearances earlier this year. The Beast spent 13 years with the Sharks before deciding to wind off his club career in the American Major League. The prop, who many believes is still in his prime, made a surprise move when he was unveiled by American Major League side Old Glory last week.
Rugby’s team of the decade (2010-19)
BBC team of the decade: 15. Beauden Barrett (NZ), 14. George North (Wales), 13. Jonathan Davies (Wales), 12. Owen Farrell (England), 11. Julian Savea (NZ), 10. Dan Carter (NZ), 9. Will Genia (Australia), 8. Kieran Read (NZ), 7. Sam Warburton (Wales), 6. Richie McCaw (NZ), 5. Alun Wyn Jones (Wales), 4. Eben Etzebeth (SA), 3. Owen Franks (NZ), 2. Dane Coles (NZ), 1. Tendai Mtawarira (SA).
Supersport International Rugby
Team of the decade
Tendai Mtawarira (SA), Keven Mealamu (NZ), Owen Franks (NZ), Brodie Retallick (NZ), Alun Wyn Jones (Wales), Pieter-Steph Du Toit (SA), Richie McCaw (NZ), Kieran Read (NZ), Aaron Smith (NZ), Daniel Carter (NZ), Julian Savea (NZ), Ma’a Nonu (NZ), Conrad Smith (NZ), Bryan Habana (SA), Ben Smith (NZ)
BBC Sport users: Beauden Barrett (New Zealand), George North (Wales), Jonathan Davies (Wales), Ma’’a Nonu (New Zealand), Julian Savea (New Zealand), Dan Carter (New Zealand), Aaron Smith (New Zealand); Kieran Read (New Zealand), Richie McCaw (New Zealand), David Pocock (Australia), Alun Wyn Jones (Wales), Brodie Retallick (New Zealand), Adam Jones (Wales), Dane Coles (New Zealand), Tendai Mtawarira (South Africa).