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The Beast to reach Springbok landmark as Erasmus names team for England

Erasmus hails Mtawarira as ‘a great servant of the game’ ahead of his 100th appearance for South Africa.

Mtawarira has been named in South Africa's team for Saturday.
Mtawarira has been named in South Africa's team for Saturday.
Image: Steve Haag

SOUTH AFRICAN PROP Tendai Mtawarira will become only the second black player to represent the country 100 times when he lines up against England in Bloemfontein Saturday.

Bryan Habana, who retired this year, was the first to achieve the feat, making 124 Test appearances.

Victor Matfield, John Smit, Jean de Villiers and Percy Montgomery are the other Springbok centurions.

South Africa coach Rassie Erasmus hailed Mtawarira as “a great servant of the game” when he chose him for the second Test against England.

Zimbabwe-born Mtawarira was named Thursday in a team showing two changes from that which started a thrilling 42-39 first Test triumph over England in Johannesburg last Saturday.

Injury-plagued Frans Malherbe got the nod at tighthead prop in place of Wilco Louw, who Erasmus said was “punch-drunk” from playing so much rugby this year.

Flanker Pieter-Steph du Toit replaces Jean-Luc du Preez, giving South Africa an extra lineout option.

Erasmus described 32-year-old Mtawarira, popularly known as ‘The Beast’, as “a great servant of the game and Springbok rugby and a very good professional.

“Much like a typical front rower, ‘Beast’ is not someone who likes the spotlight,” said Erasmus of the forward who avoided media interviews this week.

“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.

971535368 Source: David Rogers

“It is a special achievement and while he deserves the accolades, I know he will be totally focused on facing an extremely determined England side on Saturday in Bloemfontein.”

Erasmus said South Africa would have to improve on a dramatic victory last weekend if they hoped to win again and clinch the three-Test series with a match to spare.

“England are a powerful side and I know Eddie Jones will have his team super prepared for Saturday,” warned Erasmus.

“They will no doubt want to bounce back to level the series, so it is going to be another huge Test of our resolve and character.”

There are also two changes to the bench with Du Preez replacing Du Toit and winger/centre Jesse Kriel preferred to out-half Elton Jantjies.

South Africa trounced England 58-10 the last time they met in Bloemfontein, a record winning margin for them over the Red Rose.

South Africa:

15. Willie le Roux
14. Sibusiso Nkosi
13. Lukhanyo Am
12. Damian de Allende
11. Aphiwe Dyantyi
10. Handre Pollard
9. Faf de Klerk

8. Duane Vermeulen
7. Pieter-Steph du Toit
6. Siya Kolisi (captain)
5. Franco Mostert
4. RG Snyman
3. Frans Malherbe
2. Bongi Mbonambi
1. Tendai Mtawarira

Replacements:

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.

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