Tendai ‘The Beast’ Mtawarira has called for Ox Nche to start in the World Cup final on Saturday against the All Blacks after his demoltion of the England scrum in the semi-final.
South Africa’s semi-final win at the Stade de France had a very similar feel to the World Cup final from four years ago, although on this occasion it was a new loosehead prop that was winning the game for the Boks. It was Mtawarira that was causing havoc in Yokohama, while Nche dominated in Paris after coming on for the final 30 minutes of the match.
In light of his performance against England, ‘The Beast’ posted a six word message on X calling for Nche to start in the final. He wrote: “Ox is so destructive..start him.”
The strength of South Africa’s replacement front row has been fundamental to their success over the past four years as their role is just as important as the starters. Whether Nche did enough to change the mind of head coach Jacques Nienaber and director of rugby Rassie Erasmus is uncertain, but he received high praise from his teammates after sealing their place in successive finals.
Captain Siya Kolisi said after the 16-15 victory that Nche’s performance, as well as that of replacement tighthead Vincent Koch, was “really special”.
“Ox and the guys behind him have been special,” the 2019 World Cup winning captain said. “We take pride in our scrums. It took a while. The guys who started ground as hard as they could. We tried to lay the foundation and sometimes it is difficult. England were never going to lie down and let us go over them. The guys who came on took it to another level, like they did last week. For Ox, Vincent and Bongi, it was really special.”