A lot of hard work lies ahead of the South African rugby team before they will reach their peak, Springbok loosehead prop Tendai “Beast” Mtawarira said on Tuesday.
“We haven’t reached our potential yet and we want to continue to improve, and this is another week that we would like to do that,” said Mtawarira.
The big prop forward was named in the starting line-up for Friday’s Rugby World Cup match against Samoa after he started from the bench the previous week.
Aside from a thundering run down the sideline during the defend champions’ match against Namibia, Mtawarira made less of an impression than he would have wished because the contest turned into a try-fest for the faster men in the team.
This week’s match, however, has already been labelled as one that will be won by the stronger of the two packs.
Mtawarira, smiling at the prospect of an intense physical battle said that there was a renewed energy in the camp following the weekend’s rest.
“Everybody is just bussing and everybody is just looking forward to Friday.”
“It is a big week for us and we are feeling refreshed and some hard work that lies ahead of us for this week.”
Fighting fire with fire
The power house prop, who has become a household name in world rugby, said that his team is aware of the Samoan challenge that lies ahead, and that they have prepared accordingly.
“They played really well [against Fiji] so and you could see that they are a very physical side, but so are we so it could turn out to be one of those forwards battles.
“It is going to be fighting fire with fire on Friday so we look forward to making the tackles, but also getting tackled.
For Mtawarira who is one of only 12 players in the squad of 30 that were not part of the triumphant team of 2007, added that the winning formula they have been working on is starting to show on the field.
“I think it is important for us to stick to our structures and stick to what we have been training so hard on and that started four years ago,” he said.
Everybody knows exactly what to do
Understandably the scrums were one area the loosehead would like to see his team assert their authority.
“We have been working very hard at our scrums and we just want to keep on improving every week — set pieces are very vital to us and the same counts for them.
This week Mtawarira will be part of an all new front-row that will feature Bismarck du Plessis who finally got the nod to start ahead of regular skipper John Smit.
The Beast said that he isn’t fazed by who he will have at his side.
“It doesn’t really matter whether it is John or Bizzy [Bismarck du Plessis] and that is the good thing about the team; every man that we get swops in with the next and everybody knows exactly what to do.” — Sapa
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