The non-Springbok Ben Tameifuna labels one of world’s best scrummagers


Ben Tamifuna, the president of Tonga and Bordeaux Beagles, has very high regard for the South African players, and that is understandable.

Each league is packed with South African props, with the country's biggest exports being 120kg+.

Having played in Super Rugby, in top 14 teams and on the international stage, Tameifuna would have faced his fair share of South Africans in his time too.

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But when asked who were the best runners he had faced, the contestant had one front row in particular that came to mind – the Sharks' front three featuring Tendai “The Beast” Mtawarira, Bismarck du Plessis and Jannie du Plessis.

Speaking as a guest on Le French Rugby Podcast More recently, the 145kg prop recalled facing off against the Sharks and Springboks, in the front row early in his career. Of course, he would have faced the freewheeling Mtawarira on that occasion, and many others, but he would still have tasted the drilling power of fellow Springbok Jani du Plessis on the other side of the party.

French stadium

Bordeaux

“South Africans obviously have it in their DNA,” Tamifuna said when asked about the best racers he has faced.

“I remember my first year at the Chiefs, we played against the Sharks in the Super 15 final and the front row was Beast and the du Plessis brothers. The year before, I was in the pub watching the World Cup, and a year later I was competing against the South African front row in the Super 15 final, and it was That's absolutely huge.

“I think the South Africans are built to scramble. They love it. Just look at what they did in the quarter-finals when they awarded a free-kick. They were one of the best drunks in the world.

“There must be something in the water over there in Africa. They're just built differently.”

But when asked who the best props currently are, the Tongan singled out Ireland and Leinster captain Tadhg Furlong for changing what players in that position are capable of today.

“Just a short distance away from Leinster, he was always consistent,” he said.

“The props that are still going off in the 60th minute like they're in the first minute. These are the players who took what a regular prop should look like then to what it should look like now. They do a great job in that position.”





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