Mujati brewing up a storm at Saints

LONDON - These are hectic days for Northampton’s former South Africa prop Brian Mujati.

Aside from agreeing a move to Paris moneybags Racing Metro, he played against last month before heading to the Towcester Winter Beer Festival to sample his own home brew.

Brewing has been a passion of Mujati’s since he decided that his international prospects were over and swapped the Stormers for the Saints in 2009.

On the door of his garage, where brewing operations take place, there’s a sticker that reads: Brew, Drink, Repeat.

And Saturday nights are dedicated to “sampling”.

“It’s just a little passion of mine on the side that I took to,” Mujati, better known in Northampton circles as “The Mooj”, told The Rugby Paper.

“I brew all kinds of ales and I’ve been supplying the beer festivals, like Towcester, with little nine-gallon firkins.”

Why this passion? He explains: “Three years ago, I had the crazy thought of cutting the middleman out of the drinking process and trying to make my own beer. It led to the purchase of a home-brew kit and the birth of a crazy hobby that really annoys my wife.

“My garage became a makeshift brewery and it’s full of malted barley, hops, yeasts, all kinds of liquids fermenting away and loads of beers I’ve brewed and bottled.”

It is heartening that even in the era of protein shakes and gluten-free diets, down-to-earth stars like The Mooj are still capable of striking a chord with the common man by confirming that beer and rugby is the perfect mix.

Rugby pays the big bills, though, and Mujati has been in demand, with Racing Metro winning the race for his hard-nosed, powerful services. A no-brainer? Even Saints boss Jim Mallinder concedes they cannot compete wage-wise.

He said: “It’s disappointing to see lads go but you can’t blame them when they’ve had substantial offers from overseas.”

But, impending departure notwithstanding, Mujati will forever be grateful to Northampton and its people for the welcome he received after quitting South Africa.

Mujati is reticent why he left – being Zimbabwe-born, they are thought to centre around residual hostility towards “outsiders” representing the Springboks on residential grounds — but he is happy to have left those days behind.

“It’s been very humbling,” he said. “I arrived in Northampton out of this bad cloud where people were queueing up to say bad things about me, so when I got here I was very wary.

“But it’s actually been a bit of an eye-opener how kind people have been towards me and how welcoming and accepting they’ve been.

“In South Africa, my main issue was the coach (Peter de Villiers) not giving me enough opportunity. I played 12 Tests but a lot of them were off the bench and I couldn’t see my career progressing, which is why I chose to come to England.

“I got an opportunity to come to Northampton and thought I’d give it a go. It was difficult not knowing what to expect because I had no family or friends here, but it’s been good for us and I’ve been well coached.” — The Rugby Paper

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