- Episode four of Chasing the Sun saw Springbok prop Tendai Mtawarira revisit his yellow card in the 2019 World Cup quarter-final against Japan.
- The Boks ran out comfortable winners in the end, but the yellow card saw them have to dig deep on defence.
- Mtawarira was a dominant force in the scrums after he returned to the field.
Tendai ‘Beast’ Mtawarira says the yellow card he picked up in the 2019 Rugby World Cup quarter-final against Japan resulted in the longest 10 minutes of his life.
In episode four of Chasing the Sun, the SA Rugby and SuperSport produced documentary that examines the Springbok triumph last year, Mtawarira looks back at the moment that threatened to derail his side’s efforts at progressing in the tournament.
In the first half of the match, Mtawarira was sent to the sin bin for a tip-tackle on Japan’s Keita Inagaki that some believed could have been a red card.
It resulted in a sustained period of Japanese attack that threatened more than once to penetrate the Bok defence, but the eventual champions held on with 14 men and emerged as 26-3 winners having led just 5-3 at half-time.
“I literally just wanted to smash the guy … not do it illegally, but make a statement to say ‘we’re here for business’,” said Mtawarira.
“It was a tough 10 minutes … the longest 10 minutes of my life.”
Springbok No 8 Duane Vermeulen and fullback Willie le Roux then provided their take on how challenging those 10 minutes had been for the Boks.
“You can prepare as much as you can, but whatever happens on the field, that is the way the game is played. You’ve got to adjust,” said Vermeulen.
“For those 10 minutes, we had to defend and we had to tackle our butts off.”
Le Roux added: “Defending with 14 guys with our type of defence against an attacking brand like Japan, it’s very tough. One guy makes a big difference in your defence line.”
When Mtawarira returned to the field, he gave an inspired performance and played a massive role in the Boks gaining the upper hand at the scrums and Handre Pollard stretching their lead from the kicking tee.
“Every time I pushed the other guy backwards, it gave me so much energy and it rubbed off on the other guys,” said Mtawarira.
“It’s just pure passion. It’s what I feel for the jersey and what I feel for the Springboks.”
Episode five of Chasing the Sun is set to air on Sunday night at 18:00.