South African Rugby
Springboks told not to select Mtawarira
June 5, 2010
Mtawarira must become a South African citizen to represent the Springboks again © Getty Images
The South African Rugby Union (SARU) has instructed the selectors of the Springbok national team not to select Tendai 'Beast' Mtawarira - or any other non-South African passport holder - following advice from the department of Sport and Recreation.
Deputy sports minister Gert Oosthuizen sent SARU a letter on Friday reaffirming the government's position that no foreign player can be selected to represent a national team. Mtawarira, who was born in Zimbabwe, has played 22 test matches for the Springboks since his debut in 2008 and played a starring role during last summer's British & Irish Lions series victory.
Mtawarira is a legal resident in South Africa and was selected to play for the Springboks having fulfilled the eligibility criteria of the IRB but he must now become a South African citizen to represent the country again.
"We have had extensive and robust conversations with government on this issue," said Mr Oregan Hoskins, president of SARU. "But we respect the authority of the Ministry and have instructed our selectors in that regard."
Hoskins added that Mtawarira wished to become a South African citizen as soon as possible and SARU had been assisting him in fulfilling the necessary criteria.