Despite being sidelined with injury, Springbok prop Tendai “Beast” Mtawarira has been keeping busy by promoting the game in North America.
Mtawarira was not considered for the Springboks’ European end of year tour due to the neck injury he sustained against the All Blacks in October.
The 33-year-old is currently in the USA, hosting various rugby clinics in New York and New Jersey this past week.
Mtawarira has also been personally invited to Los Angeles by NBA superstar LeBron James, who, according to Lyla Illing, is “a big fan of his”.
Illing, who sang the South African national anthem during the Springboks Test against Wales in Washington in June, invited Mtawarira to a restaurant in New York.
“When the NYC South African expat community heard that one of our Springboks were in town, we came together at Kurry Qulture, a restaurant in NY, to welcome Beast and support him on his road to recovery. As well as his venture to promote rugby in America,” said Illing.
“Beast was so excited talking to me about how passionate he is about his venture of introducing rugby to America over the coming months.”
According to Illing, once Mtawarira heard she sang the national anthem in Washington earlier this year, he insisted she serenade him.
Illing fittingly chose the Disney classic, ‘Beauty and the Beast’ with the crowd chanting “Beeeast” at the end of the song.
“Tonight I made a new friend, it was so special to share a fun moment with one of my biggest inspirations,” said Illing.
The Springboks play the final Test of their European tour this Saturday against Wales in Cardiff