Beast Mtawarira will need to focus on matters on the rugby field if he wants to add a 2019 World Cup chapter to his life story, writes JOHN GOLIATH.
This week, Mtawarira has been putting fires out following his book promo stunt. I’ve never been a fan of athletes publishing their ‘tell-all’ book or autobiography before they actually finished their playing careers, and on Thursday, another twist to the tale came when it was confirmed that Mtawarira’s much talked about autobiography has been recalled by the publishers.
Mtawarira’s book was to be launched shortly before the start of the Springboks’ Rugby Championship opener against Australia on 20 July, and a couple of months before the World Cup in Japan. However, it will now only be released at an undisclosed time later in the year.
‘With the reaction of some commentators to a single paragraph from the book as a possible indicator of the level of media attention and interest, we felt it necessary to delay the release of the book, so that I can focus solely on my rugby in preparation for possible inclusion in the World Cup squad,’ Mtawarira stated.
Judging by the stir the snippet about former Springbok coach Peter de Villiers caused over the last week, the book will have a lot of spicy revelations. Or maybe that was the main hook, because, unlike Gibbs, Beast doesn’t strike me as a person who goes on drinking benders the night before a Test match …
So, there is bound to be more reaction when his book eventually hits the shelves, and many fires may need to be extinguished in the process. Indeed, it was feared that this could be a distraction to the big man, especially because there will be a dogfight for the Bok No 1 jersey in the coming months leading up to the World Cup.
Lizo Gqoboka’s stunning displays for the Vodacom Bulls in this year’s Vodacom Super Rugby competition will give Bok boss Rassie Erasmus some food for thought, while Steven Kitshoff has again had a decent season for the Stormers.
Gqoboka has combined his powerful scrumming with some top performances around the park. His carrying has been outstanding, as he has made 407 metres from 88 carries in 971 minutes of rugby. That includes seven linebreaks and 17 tackle busts.
Kitshoff has made 312 metres from 81 carries in 777 minutes of rugby. The red-haired prop also made four tackle busts. The Beast has played 518 minutes of rugby for the Sharks and made 71 carries for 326 metres, which includes one linebreak and three tackle busts.
Gqoboka also leads the way in the tackle count (115) while he has missed only 16. Kitshoff made 90 tackles (nine missed) and Mtawarira has put in 54 hits (three missed).
Gqoboka will add to his impressive stats this weekend in the playoffs, while Mtawarira misses the Sharks’ trip to the Brumbies following a knee injury, which also kept him out of the last match of the regular season against the Stormers.
Erasmus will in all likelihood only take two of the above-mentioned loosehead props, with either a Thomas du Toit or a Trevor Nyakane selected as a swinger – a prop who can play on both sides of the scrum in Japan.
Mtawarira’s vast experience should count for a lot, and it’s understandable that he has now put his book on the back burner as he looks to keep Gqoboka and Kitshoff at bay.
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