Beast barred

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ZIMBABWEAN-born South African rugby player Tendai ‘Beast’ Mtawarira (pictured below) has been barred from representing the Springboks following a directive from the Department of Sport and Recreation.
The Springbok selectors were instructed by the South African Rugby Union (Saru) not to select Mtawarira – or any other non-South African passport holder – for the national team, following communication from the department.
Reports from South Africa yesterday said Saru received a letter on Friday from deputy sports minister Gert Oosthuizen, reaffirming the government’s position that no foreign player can be selected to represent a national team.
The Zimbabwean-born Mtawarira has played 22 test matches for the Springboks since his debut in 2008. He is legally resident and employed in South Africa and was selected to play for the Springboks having fulfilled the eligibility criteria of the International Rugby Board.
“We have had extensive and robust conversations with government on this issue,” said Oregan Hoskins, president of Saru.
“But we respect the authority of the Ministry and have instructed our selectors in that regard.”
Hoskins added Mtawarira wished to become a South African citizen as soon as possible and Saru had been assisting him in fulfilling the necessary criteria. Saru has been under pressure since late last year to drop the player.