South Africa's World Cup-winning prop Tendai Mtawarira has announced his retirement from international rugby.
Known as "The Beast", the 34-year old made 117 appearances for the Springboks, and is his country's most-capped ever prop and third most-capped player of all-time behind only Victor Matfield and Bryan Habana.
Mtawarira has spent his entire club career with the Durban-based Sharks, and won his first international cap against Wales in June of 2008.
The loosehead's final international game was in Saturday's 32-12 World Cup final win over England where he was again in sparkling form, forcing a number of penalties out of Eddie Jones' side.
Mtawarira says he leaves the international scene with "memories to cherish forever".
SA Rugby President Mark Alexander
paid tribute to "The Beast", saying, "Beast is someone who never complained, always put in the hard work and simply got on with his job in his typically unassuming way.
"When he first got an opportunity at the Sharks, he rode a bicycle to training, which perfectly sums up not only his humbleness, but his desire to make it to the top. He worked very hard to achieve what he has and we’re all very proud of him.
“’Beast’, thank you for what you’ve done for South African rugby, to show that Springboks can indeed be gentle giants, and for never putting your own interests above that of the team.
We salute you and will miss you in green and gold.”
Mtawarira's full parting statement on Instagram
"I’ve been privileged to play this great game and achieve many career goals over the last 12 years of playing senior rugby.
"I’ve been blessed to have been part of teams that achieved so much success over the years, and I have many memories to cherish forever, but I can honestly say that winning the Rugby World Cup is the perfect ending and cherry on top.
"I am grateful for the opportunities afforded to me by many top coaches at the Springboks and the Sharks, and grateful to my numerous team mates in green and gold, and black and white, over the years.
"But most of all, to my wife Kuziva, and our two beautiful children, Talumba and Wangu, for sacrificing so much to allow me to chase my dreams. I really appreciate it immensely.
"I would also like to thank my parents, other family and friends for their support over the years – I could not have done this without you.
"Thank you South Africa for adopting me as a son. And to all my amazing fans around the world that chanted Beeeeeeast everytime I did something spectacular on the field thank you, I will certainly miss that.
"Ngiyabonga Tatenda Dankie"
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