Springbok hooker Bongi Mbonambi has opened up on he disappointment of being concussed during last year's Rugby World Cup final against England in Yokohama.
Register your interest for the British & Irish Lions tickets in South Africa 2021
The Boks won the match 32-12 to secure their third Webb Ellis Cup in historic fashion, but Mbonambi was taken off the field after just 20 minutes after taking a knock to the head.
It was particularly gutting because Mbonambi had, over the course of 2019, moved ahead of Malcolm Marx in the Springbok pecking order with a string of world class performances.
Speaking on the SA Rugby podcast, Mbonambi acknowledged that missing out on the bulk of the final was far from ideal, but he remained grateful for the chance to have been a part of one of the most celebrated days in South African sporting history.
"It was a bit of a disappointment, not a big disappointment, because I got the opportunity to play in a World Cup final and not a lot of players can say that," Mbonambi said.
"I was pretty upset. I was actually having an argument with my doctor on the field, telling him I was okay and that I could stay on.
"But they were looking after my safety and, sadly, I had to leave the field."
Now 29, Mbonambi made his Test debut under former coach Allister Coetzee against Ireland in 2016 and, after the last four years, has experienced the lowest of lows and highest of highs in Bok colours.
"We had a tough start at the beginning of those four years, but credit to Rassie and his team," he said.
"They came in with a clear plan for all the players and from the start they told us what they wanted from us.
"When we got to Japan, you could see everybody was focused on just playing rugby and winning. The obvious goal was to come back with the World Cup and that's exactly what we did there."
- Compiled by Sport24 staff