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Mtawarira quits South Africa tour after heart scare

Springbok prop Tendai Mtawarira, pictured in July

Springbok prop Tendai Mtawarira, pictured in July 2012, will return home early from South Africa’s tour of Europe after suffering heart palpitations which forced him to withdraw from Saturday’s Test against Ireland.

EDINBURGH - Springbok prop Tendai Mtawarira will return home early from South Africa’s tour of Europe after suffering heart palpitations which forced him to withdraw from Saturday’s Test against Ireland.

Following South Africa’s 16-12 win over Ireland, Mtawarira, nicknamed ‘Beast’, travelled with the rest of the squad to Edinburgh ahead of this weekend’s Test with Scotland.

But on Monday a South Africa Rugby statement said he would be flying home as it had been decided “it would be in the player’s best interests not to continue with the tour”.

Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer said: “We’ve consulted with Beast and his cardiologist in Durban and although it’s safe for him to play, we decided it would be best for him to return home and rest.

“The player’s welfare is the most important consideration at this stage.”

Springbok team doctor Craig Roberts added the 27-year-old Mtawarira, capped 41 times, has an irregular heart rhythm as a result of an hereditary condition.

“He has had this several times before and it’s always been managed accordingly,” said Roberts.

“This condition is not life threatening, but needs to be managed properly which is why we thought it would be in Beast’s best interest to return to South Africa,” he explained.

“He needs to have a repeat of the minor procedure he had in Cape Town earlier this year and it’s important to notice that he is not at risk by playing with it, and his career is not in jeopardy.”

South Africa announced later Monday that Western Province prop Frans Malherbe had been called up as a replacement for Mtawarira, with Saturday’s match against Scotland at Murrayfield and a November 24 clash with England at Twickenham still to come.

A Springbok statement said the decision to summon the uncapped Malherbe, who is a tighthead prop, was taken as Jannie du Plessis has a mild ankle sprain sustained in the victory over Ireland.

Gurthro Steenkamp should be available for selection this weekend after missing the Ireland Test due to injury.

CJ van der Linde and Heinke van der Merwe can also be used at loosehead, while du Plessis, Malherbe, van der Linde and Pat Cilliers are all tighthead options.

Malherbe, 21, is due to join the Springbok squad in Edinburgh on Wednesday.

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