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We were treated like schoolboys — Beast

Legendary Springbok prop Tendai “Beast” Mtawarira has recalled a turbulent period at the Sharks with former national coach Jake White at the helm.

Tendai Beast Mtawarira
Tendai Beast Mtawarira

Mtawarira’s autobiography “Beast” (Tendai Mtawarira with Andy Capostagno) is about to hit the shelves, with the book already released to several media houses.

In the book, Mtawarira touched on White’s tenure at the Sharks during 2013-14. The Sharks reached the semi-finals of the 2014 Super Rugby competition but Mtawarira claimed all was not well within the camp.

Mtawarira wrote: “There was a lot of commotion in the camp and a lot of unhappiness, because Jake treated us like schoolboys. He wanted us at Kings Park at 7am and insisted we be there until 6pm.

“Jake was set in his ways and wasn’t prepared to listen to anyone. He banned alcohol completely.

Now, I’m not a big drinker, but there are a lot of guys who enjoy a beer after a game and they were not happy.”

White coached the Brumbies prior to joining the Sharks and took the Australian outfit to the 2013 Super Rugby final, where they narrowly lost 27-22 to the Chiefs in Hamilton.

When White arrived at Kings Park, he wanted the Sharks to copy what the Brumbies did, according to Mtawarira.

“Jake introduced all these theories from the Brumbies. Everything he said to us was about the Brumbies and even our plays on the field were from the Brumbies. The funniest thing was that when we played the Brumbies that season, they would call the same play as us!

“We were dumbfounded. It seemed like everything Jake said to us would include the line, ‘At the Brumbies we used to …’ He would show us clips of them training, reviews of their games, whatever, and the boys would be fed up. ‘We don’t want to watch the Brumbies,’ they would say. ‘We’re better than them’.”

Former Springbok captain John Smit, who won the World Cup with White in 2007, was the Sharks’ CEO at the time and had his hands full trying to calm matters.

Mtawarira added: “John would speak directly to Jake but things never changed. Jake carried on treating everyone as though they didn’t know what they were doing, and that included the management team.

“John tried to manage the situation and cautioned Jake a few times, because when you get the management team and the players constantly coming to you to complain about the coach, then you know there’s something wrong.”- Sport24