World Cup winning Springbok winger Makazole Mapimpi has made his way back to his home team, the Sharks, after a season spent successfully in Japan, at the NTT Docomo Red Hurricanes. In case South Africa (and the world) needs a reminder of his qualities, here it is.
Mapimpi was phenomenal for the Springboks during their 2019 World Cup winning campaign, scoring six tries throughout the tournament, including the first of the Bok’s tries against England in the 32-12 final win. He has started in all 14 of the test matches that he’s played and has scored as many tries internationally. Unfortunately, South Africa’s absence from Test rugby over the last year has meant the world has not been able to marvel at Mapimpi on an international stage.
Instead, the benefactors of his magic have been not the Springboks, but the Red Hurricanes, where Mapimpi did what he does best in scoring four tries in six appearances. One could argue though, that the Springboks ultimately still benefit as Mapimpi returns to South African shores with greater experience both as a player and a person.
WATCH: Mapimpi’s Man of the Match performance for the Red Hurricanes
Before leaving for his short stint in Japan, Mapimpi had scored 25 tries in 46 Super Rugby matches, and 10 tries in 13 PRO14 games. He is a try scoring machine, who has tamed the art of finishing. But he is also an athletic presence that over the last few years has refined his rugby skills to compliment his speed and swerve. He not only finishes, but finds space, attacks the gain-line hard and chases the high ball in a manner reminiscent of 2007 World Cup stars Bryan Habana and scrumhalf Fourie du Preez, with the latter’s box kick inevitably turned into a strength because of Habana’s wing chase.
South African rugby, after Mapimpi’s time in Japan, but timely return to the Sharks, will be warmly welcoming back an integral cog to their international functioning. When one sees the success week in and week out of Cheslin Kolbe in France, the consistency of Willie Le Roux in Japan and the calm climb of Mapimpi on that left wing over the last couple of years, there is a lot to get excited about.
WATCH: A tribute to Mapimpi