When Beast took 'scrumming lessons' from a ref
IN THE SPOTLIGHT: Tendai Mtawarira, affectionately known as Beast, readily admits a scrawny referee once gave him some scrumming tips.
Mtawarira, who celebrated a record 157th appearance by a South African player at the weekend when he played a big hand in the Sharks’ impressive 42-5 humiliation of the Lions in Johannesburg last Friday, was a speaker at a recent meeting of the Durban Rugby Referee Sub Society.
The 33-year-old, with 107 Springbok Test caps, overtook retired national team captain and hooker Adriaan Strauss, whose 156 appearances came with the Cheetahs and Bulls.
The man who gave him those handy tips was now retired referee Craig Joubert, a Referee Talent Development Coach at World Rugby.
Joubert refereed the 2011 World Cup Final, has 69 Tests to his credit and 200-odd first-class games.
Yet he epitomises the unique relationship that exists between players and match officials.
“Craig [Joubert] spent a lot of time with the Sharks and we were very fortunate to have him come around [to training] and give us tips,” Mtawarira told the meeting.
“With myself being a front row forward, he would see things that I was doing wrong.
“He would sit me down and inform me: ‘These are the things referees would look at, you have to be better at it, work very hard at it.’
“At the time I was a little bit sensitive [about the criticism], but when I took on board what he was saying, I became destructive in scrumming.
“He helped me a hell of a lot of.
“He also helped me get credibility with other referees.”
Joubert would also send Mtawarira clips of his opponents, which would help him analyse his opponents.
“He made it very easy for me to learn and grasp the intricacies of my position.”
* This article was brought to you by FMI, proud to sponsor the Durban Rugby Referee Sub Society, and Prosport International.