Tendai Mtawarira and his publishers Pan Macmillan have decided to delay the launch of his book ‘Beast’ following a backlash on social media on his comments about Peter de Villiers.
The Springbok loosehead prop was scheduled to reveal his book on Monday, 1 July, but now a new date will be set after Mtawarira was heavily criticised by fans and critics for his views on ex-Bok coach De Villiers.
Mtawarira, who was chosen by De Villiers for his Test debut in 2008, suggested that the coach was not in charge of the team.
“He was a fantastic coach of the Junior Springboks‚ but I think at the high level‚ he was probably lucky that a very good group of players was handed over to him,” an excerpt from the book stated.
“His methods and approach didn’t really work with the Springboks‚ and as players‚ we had to be careful what we said to the media.
“What you said would get back to Peter and affect your place in the team. The media did not like Peter‚ and thought he was a bit of a clown.
“There’s no doubt that he was happy to be at the forefront of a team that could operate on its own steam. Most of the work was done by the players‚ with Dick (Muir) and (Gary) Gold (Bok assistant coaches) very influential.”
De Villiers hit back, tell presenter Robert Marawa on the Room Dividers show on Radio 2000 on Tuesday that he was “sad to hear this stuff from Beast”.
“If you look at how I fought to actually get him citizenship in South Africa, and how I fought to get him to be selected for this team, and how I fought for his teammates to accept him for who he was… It’s sad to listen and see this kind of stuff,” De Villiers said.
“But then again, I understand it. I do understand that we allow ourselves to be controlled by either outside forces, or money, or power and all those kinds of things.
“So ja, I just hope for him to get well soon (Mtawarira has been injured), so that he can actually fight for a place in the World Cup.
“He was a number eight, he had some ball-sense. Very quiet – you couldn’t use him as part of your senior group because he had that mentality of ‘submissiveness’, if you can call it that, coming from Zimbabwe. They always… everybody else is better than them.
“Some players weren’t actually happy that he was there, but I could see something in him. I could see that there’s a lot of potential that we have to fulfil. It took hard work and belief to get him there.”
On Thursday, Pan Macmillan quoted Mtawarira as saying that he wants to concentrate on his bid to make the Springbok World Cup squad instead of launching the book on 1 July.
That may mean that his book only comes out after the tournament ends in November.
“With the reaction of some commentators to a single paragraph from the book as a possible indicator of the level of media attention and interest‚ we felt it necessary to delay the release of the book‚ so that I can focus solely on my rugby in preparation for possible inclusion in the World Cup squad,” he said.
The publishers added: “World-renowned rugby player Tendai Mtawarira‚ co-author Andy Capostagno and publishers Pan Macmillan have decided to delay the launch of Mtawarira’s highly anticipated book.
“The memoir‚ titled Beast‚ was set to be released on the 1st of July‚ but will now be launched later in the year.
“The book shares insights into Mtawarira’s personal journey‚ including his relationships with mentors and those who have helped to shape his career as a powerhouse of the South African rugby fraternity.
“A new date for the book’s release will be communicated.”
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