Springbok prop Tendai Mtawarira says he is raring to go and push for a place in the squad for the upcoming World Cup in Japan.
Mtawarira has not played since late April after struggling with a knee injury following the Sharks’ Super Rugby clash with the Waratahs, and the loosehead sitting out for a seven-week spell.
The 33-year-old has been included in the Bok squad for the opening two Rugby Championship fixtures against the Wallabies and All Blacks, along with fellow looseheads Steven Kitshoff and the uncapped Lizo Gqoboka.
Speaking to the media on Monday, Mtawarira said he is feeling fit and ready to fight for his place in the squad.
‘I feel great,’ Mtawarira said. ‘My last game was against the Waratahs for the Sharks and, obviously, I had a lot of MCL [knee] problems. I got time to recover from it and good quality time to recover from my other niggles, so I feel really fresh. These last couple of weeks have been really great to be put through our paces and get fitter and stronger for the style of rugby we want to play. I feel I am in a great position to go out there and do a job.
‘There are a lot of good front rankers coming through and I think for myself it makes me better. The competition pushes me to work even harder. As a squad, we bring out the best in each other and that competition is always great.
‘I am super excited. For the last four years, we have been thinking about 2019 and it is obviously the big occasion this year. It is all about giving my mind, body and soul to the Springboks. The planning has really been good and hats off to Rassie and the management team for laying the plan out so early and getting the guys to buy in.
‘In terms of the squad, there is a great balance, a good amount of experience and good youngsters coming through. We have got everything that we need to become successful. All that is left is for us to go out and play and execute.’
— SA Rugby magazine (@SARugbymag) July 16, 2019
Mtawarira, who has Tri-Nations and British & Irish Lions series triumphs to his name, added that he would love to add a World Cup medal to his cabinet.
‘Winning the World Cup is everything. I have worked hard for it and everything I have worked hard for in my career. Being part of a successful part of a World Cup team would be everything. Right now, that is all I am thinking about. I need to work harder than ever to put on great performances and contribute to the success of this team going forward.’
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