Springbok prop Tendai ‘Beast’ Mtawarira will return to South Africa on Monday following a decision that it would be in the player’s best interests not to continue with the tour.
This follows Mtawarira’s withdrawal from last Saturday’s Test against Ireland as a precautionary measure, after he had a recurrence of mild heart palpitations that morning.
“We’ve consulted with Beast and his cardiologist in Durban and although it’s safe for him to play, we decided it would be best for him to return home and rest,” said Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer.
“The player’s welfare is the most important consideration at this stage.”
Mtawarira, who travelled with the rest of the squad to Edinburgh on Sunday, had an irregular heart rhythm, according to Springbok team doctor Craig Roberts. The condition is hereditary.
“He has had this several times before and it’s always been managed accordingly,” said Roberts.
“This condition is not life threatening, but needs to be managed properly which is why we thought it would be in Beast’s best interest to return to South Africa.
“He needs to have a repeat of the minor procedure he had in Cape Town earlier this year and it’s important to notice that he is not at risk by playing with it, and his career is not in jeopardy.”
DHL Western Province prop Frans Malherbe will join the Springbok squad in Edinburgh in the place of Mtawarira.
The decision to bring in Malherbe, who is a tighthead prop, was taken as Jannie du Plessis has a mild ankle sprain he sustained in the Test victory over Ireland last Saturday.
Gurthrö Steenkamp should be available for selection this weekend after missing the Ireland Test due to injury. CJ van der Linde and Heinke van der Merwe can also be used at loosehead, while Du Plessis, Malherbe, Van der Linde and Pat Cilliers are all options at tighthead.
The 21-year-old Malherbe will join the Springboks on Wednesday in Edinburgh, where they are preparing for Saturday’s Test against Scotland at Murrayfield.