'The Beast' roaring towards 100 Test caps for the Springboks

Tendai Mtawarira of South Africa tackled by Maxime Machenaud of France during the 2017 Incoming Rugby Series between South Africa and France at Loftus Stadium. Gavin Barker/BackpagePix

The roars of "Beast!" will be extra loud in Bloemfontein this weekend when Springbok prop Tendai Mtawarira plays his 100th Test match.

While Bok coach Rassie Erasmus has hinted that there may be changes to the Springbok team that played in Johannesburg, he confirmed that the 32-year-old prop will start in the second Test against England at the Free State Stadium on Saturday.

"He will definitely get picked," Erasmus said. "It's great. I played 39 times for the Springboks and for me that felt like a lot, so for a guy to reach 100 is phenomenal."

Mtawariwa, who made his debut for the Springboks in 2008, will become the sixth Bok after former lock Victor Matfield (127 caps), winger Bryan Habana (124), hooker John Smit (111), centre Jean de Villiers (109) and fullback Percy Montgomery (102) to reach the milestone. Out of his 99 Tests, he has started 90.

Forwards coach Matt Proudfoot on Tuesday said the Springboks' pack of forwards want to honour Mtawariwa with their performance on Saturday to make the occasion extra special for the Zimbabwean-born loosehead prop.

"When the moment comes, it will be a fantastic achievement for a very good man. The stats will show that he has started a large majority of his 99 Tests up to this point.

"It's an incredible achievement, especially when you consider his longevity in a really tough position where there's a lot of competition.

"This [milestone] will be something to savour, and I'd like to see the pack respond to that and make it a special occasion. We want to cherish this moment for him and honour it accordingly."

The 'Beast' went through a period in 2017 when he suffered a dip in form and supporters were calling for him to be dropped in favour of the exciting Steven Kitshoff. But the Sharks loosehead has had a fantastic Super Rugby campaign this year, and a good outing against the English at Ellis Park.

Proudfoot says Mtawarira's professionalism sets him apart from his peers, and helped him to achieve this milestone.

"Beast takes care of his body, he works hard and does the extras. He's a professional. Beast also has a very good physique and confidence in his abilities, but he's also been prepared to learn and ride out the ups and down," Proudfoot, a former Scotland prop, said.

"He takes it on the chin when he's been beaten, but he's humble enough to understand the process and how to come back stronger, and that's what you want from a sportsman."