JOHANNESBURG – Rugby ace Tendai Mtawarira donated boots for Zimbabwe’s Rugby Sevens national team currently taking part in the seventh tournament of the 2018–19 World Rugby Sevens Series in Hong Kong, Sports Minister Kirsty Coventry revealed on Saturday.

Coventry reacted after it was claimed that the Sevens team were rescued by rugby fans in Hong Kong who raised US$5,800 and bought the team boots and food.

“Accommodation and meals are all provided by the organisers. Tendai Mtawarira donated boots to the team already. I applaud the team for fundraising and thank all those who donated. I think Zimbabwe Sevens is the best-looking team because of it,” Coventry said on Twitter.

Mtawarira’s generosity was revealed as he broke a South African record for the most appearances in the Super Rugby, the men’s rugby union competition involving teams from 15 countries including Argentina, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and Japan.

His team, the Sharks, said on Twitter: “Congratulations to Our Sharks Legend, @Beast_TM on reaching 157 Vodacom @SuperRugby caps and becoming the most capped South African Super Rugby player in history!”

Mtawarira, known as The Beast, said: “I’m truly overwhelmed by all the messages of congratulations on this amazing day. Thank you to my family, my teammates, friends, supporters and most off all thank you to the Sharks for being the greatest organisation I could have hoped to play for.”

Mtawarira spent his formative years in Zimbabwe, punishing opponents on the field whilst playing on a scholarship at Peterhouse, one of the country’s foremost private schools.

Recruited by the Sharks academy after school, Mtawarira made the trek south and rapidly climbed the ranks at Kings Park and was recruited for the South African national team, the Springboks. He made his Test debut against Wales in 2008.

Donation … The Zimbabwe Rugby Sevens team is taking part in the seventh tournament of the 2018–19 World Rugby Sevens Series in Hong Kong