Former Springboks prop Beast Mtawarira has offered some sage advice to South Africa’s aspirant rugby players about the pitfalls of big-money offers to play abroad.
The World Cup and Lions series-winning prop spent most of his rugby career in Durban with the Sharks, the team that gave him his professional debut in 2006.
Mtawarira only temporarily moved abroad to the USA after he won the 2019 World Cup with the Springboks. After spending a season in Major League Rugby with Old Glory DC, he decided to hang up his boots and return to South Africa.
While offering sage advice to young players, Mtawarira explained that he turned down a number of offers from overseas clubs during his career.
“I had a few offers, especially from French clubs,” Mtawarira said. “For me, the opportunity was here [in Durban].
“There were these big carrots, but I wanted to create something special here at home.
“That money [from the overseas clubs] only lasts you so long. I wanted to look at generational wealth and build an empire.”
Over the past decade, South Africa has lost a number of senior Springboks to teams from the UK, Europe and Japan, mostly because the local franchises cannot compete financially with those clubs.
However, Mtawarira said that it is not always necessary to move abroad if you want to make the most of your rugby career.
“I believe that as a Springbok you can build something special for yourself here [in South Africa] and you must do it while you are playing.
“It can’t just be about money,” he added. “You might have a lot of it in the bank, but you don’t know what to do with it.
“You got to have something that gets you up in the morning and gives you purpose.”
Mtawarira is working towards his MBA and he heads up a security company.
“I knew that I had to work on a long-term plan and I have fallen back on that. I am building something special for myself,” he said. “It is important for players to realise that [they need a long-term, sustainable plan].
“Rather build something special here and it will last you forever.”