With Tendai “Beast” Mtawarira rapidly becoming a folk hero amongst Springbok rugby supporters, I thought I would take a look at which other players who are or were from Zimbabwe and have played for South Africa.
Zimbabweans with Springbok Caps
- Adrian Garvey “Turbo Prop” – Played 28 tests for the Springboks during the 1990’s all at Tight-head Prop, scoring 4 tries. He also played for Zimbabwe and won his first cap in the 1991 World Cup. Born 25 June 1968 in Bulawayo, he went to Plumtree School. First Test: 9 Nov 1996 against Argentina at Ferrocarril-Oeste Stadium, Buenos Aires, last Test: 10 Oct 1999 against Spain at Murrayfield, Edinburgh.
- Andy MacDonald (Andrew WilliamMacDonald) – Played 5 Tests for the Springboks during the 1960’s as a Tight-head Prop and played for Rhodesia. Went to Milton High School in Bulawayo. First Springbok Test: 19 Jun 1965 against Australia at Sydney Cricket Ground, Sydney. Last Test: 18 Sep 1965 against New Zealand at Eden Park, Auckland
- Ben-Piet van Zyl – Born in Gweru (Gwelo) on 1st Aug 1935, died 10 Mar 1973 (Age 37), played 1 Test for the Springboks as a right winger scoring 2 tries in the 24-8 win over Ireland on the 13 May 1961 in Newlands, Cape Town
- Bobby Skinstad (Robert Brian Skinstad) – Born in Bulawayo, played for the Springboks, 42 times, scoring 55 points (11 tries). He also captained the Springboks and played as a flanker and Number eight. Born 3 July 1976 in Bulawayo, Rhodesia
- Brian Mujati – South African rugby union player who is still playing and now has over 12 Springbok caps. Born in Bulawayo, went to Peterhouse school in Marondera. His first test was on the 7th Jun 2008 against Wales at Free State Stadium,in Bloemfontein he plays as a prop.
- Chris Rogers – Played 4 tests as a hooker for the Springboks in the 1980’s. Born in Masvingo (Fort Victoria) on 10 Oct 1956, went to Milton High School, Bulawayo. First Test: 2 Jun 1984 against England at EPRFU Stadium (Boet Erasmus), Port Elizabeth. Last Test: 27 Oct 1984 against South America at Newlands, Cape Town
- David Smith – Played 4 tests for the Springboks as a center all against the British Lions in 1980. Born on the 9th Nov 1957 in Bulawayo, he went to Hamilton High School in Zimbabwe (Rhodesia)
- Des van Jaarsveldt – He only played 1 test for the Springboks as a flanker, but was captain and he scored 1 try on the 30th Apr 1960 against Scotland at EPRFU Stadium (Boet Erasmus), Port Elizabeth. When he was made captain, the ‘Transvaler’, a newspaper, announced: “It is an evil day for South African rugby when the country has to seek its rugby captain from beyond its borders in a strange land and may be the reason why he never played again. “He also played for Zimbabwe (Rhodesia). Born on the 31st March 1929, he went to Plumtree School, just outside Bulawayo.
- Gary Teichmann – Zimbabwean born South African rugby union player and was the captain of the South African national team, the Springboks, between 1995 and 1999. He played 42 Tests, scoring 6 tries at number eight (eighthman) . Born 9 January 1967 in Gwelo, Rhodesia/ Zimbabwe. First Test: 2 Sep 1995 against Wales at Ellispark, Johannesburg. Last Test: 10 Jul 1999 against New Zealand at Carisbrook, Dunedin
- Ian Robertson – Played 5 Tests for the Springboks as centre or fullback in the 1970’s. Date of birth: 28 Apr 1950 in Harare (Salisbury), Zimbabwe, he went to Prince Edward School. First Test: 23 Nov 1974 against France at Stadium de Toulouse, Toulouse. Last Test: 18 Sep 1976, played Full Back against New Zealand at Ellispark, Johannesburg
- Ray Mordt – Born on the 15 Feb 1957 in South Africa, but emigrated to Zimbabwe and played for Rhodesia as well as 18 tests on the wing for the Springboks, scoring 12 tries. First Test: 26 Apr 1980 against South America at Wanderers, Johannesburg. Last Test: 27 Oct 1984 against South America at Newlands, Cape Town He went to Churchill High School in Harare.
- Ronnie Hill – Born on 20 Dec 1934in South Africa, but emigrated to Zimbabwe and went to Bulawayo Technical High School. Played for Rhodesia and Played 7 tests as a hooker for the Springboks in the 1960’s. First Test: 3 Dec 1960 against Wales at Millenium Stadium (Cardiff Arms Park), Cardiff. Last Test: 24 Aug 1963 against Australia at Ellispark, Johannesburg
- Ryk van Schoor – Born in South Africa, but emigrated to Zimbabwe (the Rhodesia) and played for Rhodesian and 12 tests for South Africa as a centre scoring 2 tries. First Test 13 Aug 1949 against New Zealand at Ellispark, Johannesburg. Last Test: 26 Sep 1953 against Australia at Crusaders (St George’s Park), Port Elizabeth
- Tendai “Beast” Mtawarira – Zimbabwean-born South African rugby union player with over 16 Springbok caps (still playing) and who also plays for the Sharks in the Super 14 competition. Tendai Mtawarira plays as a prop and is fondly known by friends and fans as “The Beast”. Born 1 August 1985 in Harare, Zimbabwe, went to Peterhouse School in Marondera. First Test: 14 Jun 2008 against Wales at Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria.
Related article: Zimbabwean Sharks & Bok prop Beast in heart hospital
Related article: Tendai “Beast” Mtawarira struggles with citizenship
- Tonderai Chavhanga – Played 4 Tests for the Springboks on the right wing, scoring 6 tries. Born 24 December 1983 in Masvingo, Zimbabwe he went to Prince Edward School in Harare and can run the 100m in 10.27 seconds, a time he achieved when he was just 16. He is possibly is possibly the fastest rugby player in South African rugby history, according to Jake White, the former springbok coach. First Test: 11 Jun 2005 against Uruguay at Basil Kenyon Stadium, East London. Last Test: 14 Jun 2008 against Wales at Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria.
Zimbabweans who have played rugby for other countries
- Takudzwa Ngwenya – Plays for the USA (Eagles). He caused a sensation with the ‘Try of the Tournament’ with his run against South Africa’s Brian Habana in the 2007 Rugby World Cup. He can run the 100m dash in 10.5, meaning that he is only slightly slower than Tonderai Chavhanga who played for the Springboks. Born July 22, 1985 and went to Vainona High School in Harare and now plays his club rugby for Biarritz in France.
- David Pocock – Currently plays flank for the Australian Wallabies and currently has 6 test caps at the time of writing. Born on the 23rd April 1988 in Messina, South Africa, he emigrated to Zimbabwe. He made his Australian Debut as a substitute against the Barbarians on the 3rd December 2008.
- Thom Evans – born 2 April, 1985 in Harare, Zimbabwe is a Scottish international rugby union player. He currently also plays on the wing for Glasgow Warriors in the Magners League.
- Max Evans (born 12 September 1983) is a Scottish rugby union footballer. He plays in the centre for Glasgow Warriors and the Scottish national team. He earned his first cap for Scotland against Canada in November 2008.
Other Notable Players
- Karl Mudzamba – Played or still plays for Hawke’s Bay in New Zealand, I think.
- Kennedy Tsimba – First capped for Zimbabwe against Ivory Coast in 1998, has played provincial and Currie Cup rugby in South Africa for the Vodacom Blue Bulls and the Free State where he broke the record for the most points scored in a season (228), a feat which earned him the Currie Cup Player of the Year award in 2002
- Leon Greeff – Born March 9, 1975, in Kadoma – Has played 6 tests for Zimbabwe as a lock/loose forward has made a name for himself playing in the Premiership side, Worcester Warriors, and can also add value to the team.
- Tonderai Chiutare – (zim 21 2002, Allenton Rugby Club (New Zealand), mid-canterbury province 2003- current (New Zealand)
- Victor Olonga – former Zimbabwe rugby captain played professional rugby in England for Penzance & Newlyn
Help Me Add to this List
I am sure I have missed out many players, so please leave a comment if you know of any others and I will add them.
Springbok Rugby Hall of Fame