Bongi Mbonambi is a fighter and spirited hooker. His drive to keep improving and never-say-die attitude helped turn many a tide. Learn more with Rugby365
Bongi Mbonambi Biography
Giving up? A concept unfamiliar to the Springbok forward Bongi Mbonambi. The spirited hooker knows it’s never over until the rooster crows, so he makes sure to not listen. With a fighting spirit to match that of a bull, and the physique to complement it, the forward plays his heart out every game.
Born in Bethlehem in January 1991, Mbongeni Theo ‘Bongi’ Mbonambi enjoyed rugby growing up and benefitted from the youth systems that saw many hidden talents of the sport fall along the way side.
He started his youth career at the Griffons in 2007 at the age of 16, before being picked up by the Bulls a year later. The mobile slab of muscle played some campus rugby at UP and TUT, helping him to make his senior debut at the Bulls in 2012.
He played for both the Currie Cup and Super Rugby side, bagging 30 and 15 appearances respectively. It was when the wind took him west towards the Stormers in 2015, that the Springbok finally showed up on the rader.
Fortunately for the hooker, he got a lot more game time at the coastal franchise, making 73 appearances for the side in Super Rugby and scoring five tries. He also featured in the Currie Cup for Western Province, scoring 29 appearances and 30 points. Western Province managed to win the Currie Cup in 2017 and reached the semifinals on two other occasions during his stint there.
It was in 2016 that Bongi Mbonambi finally got his international debut against Ireland, helping his team secure a 2 - 1 victory in the series.
The tank went from strength to strength and was a natural choice for the “bomb squad” strategy used in the 2019 Rugby World Cup by Rassie Erasmus. It was massively successful and saw the powerhouse celebrate lifting the Webb Ellis Cup with his team.
By that time Bongi Mbonambi was a regular in the Springbok squad. He was also called up for the British & Irish Lions Tour of 2021, which the Springboks won emphatically 2 - 1.
The Springbok hooker’s story is one of patience, hard work, and triumph - the makings of any heroic story. His tale, however, is not finished yet. With the fighting spirit Bongi Mbonambi has, we may see a few more pages written into his story, and likely, the history books.