Beast Mtawarira overlooked more lucrative overseas offers to rather join American side Old Glory DC in Washington where he believes he can ‘make a meaningful impact’.
In a rather left-field move, Mtawarira confirmed on Wednesday that he would be heading to America to play in the 2020 Major League Rugby season.
It’s reported to be a one-year deal that is likely to be the final swansong for the legendary Springbok prop, who recently announced his international retirement and departure from the Sharks.
According to the Washington Post, Mtawarira agreed to join Old Glory on a deal worth a league-maximum $45,000 (R643,00), turning down the opportunity to land a multi-million-rand contract playing for well-established professional clubs in France or England.
‘I want to go to a place where I can make a meaningful impact and, from what I heard, there’s a lot of African-American kids in DC,’ Mtawaria said in an interview. ‘I want to come out and be a role model and teach them a lot about my game.’
Just recently, Mtawarira and his family were seen among the supporters at Amway Centre in downtown Orlando, Florida, where they watched a basketball match.
Major League Rugby has a roughly $500,000 salary cap per team to fill out a roster of 30 to 40 players, and with the league’s third season beginning on 8 February, it’s hoped that the game will continue to grow in America.
According to the Washington Post, the opportunity to also assist at grassroots level and help grow the game was something that ‘resonated’ with Mtawarira.
‘At this point in my career, I want to contribute to rugby becoming a force in the US,’ Mtawarira said. ‘I sacrificed a lot of money … but this will help my legacy.’