South African president Ramaphosa surprises the ‘Beast’ with random call before test win

Leader Cyril Ramaphosa calls loosehead prop Tendai Mtawarira to wish him well in his 100th test match, then South Africa complete series win over England

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 17 June, 2018, 11:19am
UPDATED : Sunday, 17 June, 2018, 11:18am

Springboks’ loosehead Tendai Mtawarira, popularly known as “Beast”, revealed how the president rang him to celebrate his 100th cap ahead of South Africa’s test series win over England in Bloemfontein on Saturday.

Mtawarira said after his side’s 23-12 win in the second test at Bloemfontein’s Toyota stadium that he initially challenged the telephone well-wisher – who turned out to be President Cyril Ramaphosa.

“The first thing I said was ‘Who’s speaking?’ ‘The president.’ ‘Oh!’” he said to laughter.

“When I realised who it was I got very formal, very quickly. He thanked me for what I had done and for inspiring South Africans – I was just really surprised that he knew who I was.”

Coach Rassie Erasmus also paid tribute to him.

“It was of course a big day for this guy,” he said gesturing at Mtawarira.

“From where Beast ran on (and) people react like that... it does give you an edge. It’s a special day.”

Erasmus said he Boks struggled in the game’s opening moments, like they did in the first test encounter last weekend in Johannesburg, t

“Only being behind 12 points instead of 24 points helped. We got our composure back quickly,” he said.

“This week (recovery) was a little bit quicker, but there was still a lot of mistakes.

“The previous game showed us that it doesn’t matter how far you’re down, you can come back... especially this team.”

Erasmus said that the challenges faced by the team would stand them in good stead for the third and final test encounter next week in Cape Town.

“What the players learned last week and this week will only help our game in the future,” said Erasmus.

“There was a lot of things we did wrong, but the character was good.

Asked about apparent tensions on the pitch, captain Siya Kolisi said he “knew those moments would come”.

“The best thing was the guys reacted very well... the referee made it quite clear he wanted no more so we kind of calmed down after that,” he said.

“Having a guy like Beast... keeps it under control.”

England coach Eddie Jones described the loss as being “like a horror movie” as poor discipline led to a series loss and a fifth straight test defeat.

“Obviously it’s very disappointing,” Jones said. “We started the game very well but it was a bit like a horror movie, wasn’t it? It was almost a re-run of last week.

“We made errors in different areas of the game. We are trying to work out why we did that. Our plan of how we wanted to play the game going into it was pretty clear.

“But as soon as something small happens, we just don’t seem to react to it on the field at the moment. I thought the game was a good, hard tough test match,” Jones said.

Additional reporting Reuters