All that stands in our way of Rugby World Cup glory? 2.5 tons of biltong beefcake! JANE FRYER gives you the lowdown on England’s hunky opponents
Six-packs like corrugated iron, biceps the size of rugby balls, ham-like shoulders and acres of rippling flesh.
It’s enough to make any red blooded Englishwoman (or man, sorry) blanch.
Because this is the 2019 World Cup Springbok muscle mountain that Owen Farrell and our England team face tomorrow morning.
Each player is in staggering physical form. Each is hungry for victory. None will ever have looked better in just their shorts.
Here, Jane Fryer provides a useful guide to the Springboks to watch . . .
Six-packs like corrugated iron, biceps the size of rugby balls, ham-like shoulders and acres of rippling flesh. It’s enough to make any red blooded Englishwoman (or man, sorry) blanch
With flowing blond locks, he’s a snappy terrier who bites the ankles of huge opponents — and he’s one of the best scrum-halves in the world
Mini hercules with a mullet
Faf de Klerk, 28
In a side packed with giants, he is the 5ft 7in scrum-half who’ll take on anyone.
Nicknamed Mini Hercules, he picked a fight with bushy-bearded Welsh bruiser Jake Ball in his last match — even though Ball is 6ft 6in and five stone heavier.
With flowing blond locks, he’s a snappy terrier who bites the ankles of huge opponents — and he’s one of the best scrum-halves in the world.
Oh, and with his mullet, he bears a passing resemblance to pop star Limahl of Eighties group Kajagoogoo. ‘He’s very proud of his hair,’ says Jono Ross, his captain at English club Sale Sharks, where de Klerk (right) has played since 2017. ‘He has more hair products than my wife.’
His fearlessness was spotted at primary school in the city of Nelspruit, in the north-east of South Africa. And he’s been taunting opponents ever since.
From hunger and deprivation in an Eastern Cape township, to the first black captain of South Africa’s rugby team, Siya’s life story would make a blockbuster Hollywood movie
Christian township hero
Siya Kolisi, 28
From hunger and deprivation in an Eastern Cape township, to the first black captain of South Africa’s rugby team, Siya’s life story would make a blockbuster Hollywood movie.
He grew up in impoverished Zwide outside Port Elizabeth. His mother (just 16 when he was born), died when he was 15.
His father had left years before. ‘They simply weren’t able to raise me,’ he has said. So he slept on his grandmother’s living-room floor.
But money was scarce, and both were constantly hungry. As his grandmother weakened, Siya skipped school to care for her, until, one day, she collapsed in his arms and died.
Many boys would have turned to crime, drugs, or worse. But rugby and his Christian faith pulled Siya through.
He played in the streets until he won a rugby scholarship to a sports academy. It was the making of him. And when fame turned his head, his faith protected him.
‘I wasn’t living according to what I was calling myself: a follower of Christ,’ he has said.
He and wife Rachel — whom he calls his rock, his power, his purpose — have two children and adopted Siya’s two younger half-siblings, with whom he lost contact when social services took them into care.
Outside of rugby, Siya, 6ft 2in and 16.5 stone, pours time and money back into the poorest communities in Zwide, trying to change the lives of youngsters like him.
The lock forward is a colossus, at 6ft 8in tall and more than 19 stone. He boasts freakish strength and, for a giant, unbelievable pace
Strongman with 11st dumbbells
Eben Etzebeth, 28
The lock forward is a colossus, at 6ft 8in tall and more than 19 stone. He boasts freakish strength and, for a giant, unbelievable pace.
The circumference of each of his biceps is 19 inches, for goodness’ sake — just five inches smaller than a rugby ball.
He can bench-press nearly 28st, works out with bespoke 11st dumbbells (because the standard size is too light), claims he has ‘no fear’ and can cover 40 metres in 5.11 seconds — just 0.47 seconds slower than Usain Bolt — reaching a top speed of 17.4 miles per hour.
But, despite all that, Eben describes himself as ‘a very friendly person, loyal to friends and family and an extremely passionate individual’.
Eben cut a swathe through the youth game, made his debut for the Springboks in June 2012 — beating England 22-17 — and has been marauding in green and gold ever since.
Off the pitch, he likes to hang out on the beach, spend time with friends and roar about in high-octane sports cars with his dog.
While he is famously secretive when it comes to his love life, he raves about how much he loves his mum’s home cooking and chatting to her on the phone.
‘My mother is my superhero,’ he has said.
‘From nappy days until now, she’ll do anything possible for me — she is a perfectionist with a very strong personality, just like me.’
Off the pitch, the prop, nicknamed The Beast, is a big softy who showers umpteen times a day and would be lost without his bottles of beard oil, moisturiser and body lotion
The beast who loves moisturiser
Tendai Mtawarira, 34
He, too, can bench-press more than 28st and made his name demolishing the Lions’ front row during the first Test in 2009.
But, off the pitch, the prop, nicknamed The Beast, is a big softy who showers umpteen times a day and would be lost without his bottles of beard oil, moisturiser and body lotion.
‘Taking care of your skin is important,’ he likes to say in his impossibly deep voice. A committed Christian (Tendai means ‘be thankful to God’), he limbers up for games listening to opera or his beloved gospel — ‘it calms me down, it gets me in the zone’.
And he never plays without pulling on his lucky undies laundered by Mrs Beast, aka Kuziva, a glamorous pyschology student and the mother of their two children.
(They met in 2009 after his mother spotted Kuziva singing in church and passed on her son’s number.)
Tendai, 6ft 1in and 18st, is a national hero, despite having grown up in Harare, Zimbabwe.
Today, on the cusp of retirement, his rampaging runs have slowed. But the shouts of ‘Beee-aaast’ as he carries the ball just keep coming.
Snyman said that in one shop, a Japanese man who spotted him wandering down the aisle turned and fled, petrified. Born in Potchefstroom in the North West Province of South Africa, he’s been playing rugby since primary school
Giant scaring the Japanese
RG Snyman, 24
Looking like an extra from Lord Of The Rings, 6ft 9in RG Snyman’s interests are pretty basic.
In a video for South African club The Bulls, he was asked what animal he’d like to be.
The reply: ‘King Kong, because obviously he’s also big and also likes the blonde girls.’
True to form, there are pictures of him on social media with his blonde girlfriend Saskia Redelinghuys.
He’s had to be careful in Japan — where he has been playing for a club before the World Cup — because locals who unwittingly come across him are scared of his gigantic size.
Snyman said that in one shop, a Japanese man who spotted him wandering down the aisle turned and fled, petrified.
Born in Potchefstroom in the North West Province of South Africa, he’s been playing rugby since primary school.
But tomorrow, when he comes charging off the bench to add power to the Springboks’ cause, he’ll be an 18.5st marauding monster.
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