Three Boks in Team of the Decade

Tendai Mtawarira was among the three Springboks named in World Rugby’s Team of the Decade as part of the Special Edition Awards held on Monday evening.

The World Rugby Awards Special Edition celebrated members of the rugby family who have provided outstanding service during the Covid-19 pandemic as well as players and teams who have starred over the last decade in a virtual show.

Instead of the traditional awards celebrating performances on the pitch in 2020, supporters had the opportunity to vote for their six favourite Players and Tries of the Decade awards, with the World Rugby Awards’ star-studded panel given the difficult task of selecting two Teams of the Decade.

The Men’s Team of the Decade features a strong South African front-row presence in Mtawarira, who retired from Test rugby after the 2019 Rugby World Cup, and the experienced Bismarck du Plessis.

Bryan Habana, the Springboks’ most prolific try-scorer during his international career which spanned 12 years, is the third South African named in the team.

Du Plessis and Habana were teammates when South Africa won the World Cup in 2007, while all three players were members of the Springboks’ 2-1 series win over the 2009 British & Irish Lions.

There was also special recognition for Siya Kolisi and his Springbok colleagues for their fundraising efforts through the #StrongerTogether for R32-12 campaign, which raised more than R1 million for hunger alleviation during the Covid-19 pandemic.

‘On behalf of the entire South African rugby fraternity, I would like to congratulate all our Springboks who featured in the World Rugby Awards tonight,’ SA Rugby president Mark Alexander said.

‘Beast, Bismarck and Bryan always gave everything they had for the Springbok jersey and were great ambassadors for our wonderful country. Their inclusion in the Team of the Decade is great reward for their consistently high level of performance in the green and gold.

‘To Siya and the Boks of 2019, well done on a great effort to help raise funds for those less fortunate who were hit very hard because of the pandemic earlier this year – we are all very proud of your efforts.

‘Congratulations to our other nominees, too, from the Blitzboks and the Springboks, for always giving their all when representing South Africa on rugby fields around the globe.’

Photo: Getty Images

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Dylan Jack