Makazole Mapimpi has been making waves in the Pro14 and is quickly becoming hard to ignore.
In Mapimpi, South Africa has bred an athlete who fits the mould perfectly for the ideal modern wing. His mix of speed and agility sees an illusive and balanced running style that has been to the detriment of many opposition wings this season,
During Mapimpi’s stint at the Kings he started all 14 Super Rugby games, racking up 11 tries and a total of 55 points. In 821 running meters, he also beat 41 defenders and made 20 clean breaks, making him a standout performer in an otherwise fairly non-menacing side. Following Super Rugby, Mapimpi moved to the Cheetahs for the remainder of the Currie Cup and once again impressed with his finishing, scoring seven tries in only six matches.
The Cheetahs subsequent inclusion in the Guinness Pro14 saw Mapimpi, among other South Africans in unfamiliar playing conditions. Yet while the countries and competition changed, Mapimpi’s form remained consistent. In 13 games he has scored 10 tries (a total of 50 points), making him the top try scorer of the competition. In 97 carries, he has made 801 meters, beaten 37 defenders and made 22 clean breaks, topping the stats for clean breaks too.
These statistics are telling of a talent that needs to be invested in, especially following an international season that saw the Boks consistently field a mediocre back three. Standing at 6ft and weighing 90 kilograms, Mapimpi has the physical presence to make an impact at test level. The Springboks this past year lacked a decisive finisher and impactful meter-making winger. Mapimpi offers a bright solution.
His movement to the Sharks for the upcoming Super Rugby season will be a good measure of his ability to mix it in a side where he is surrounded by equal talent. However the hope is that the better quality of player inside him will only aid Mapimpi’s game. If he performs in the same vain at the Sharks, in a competition that is now much less diluted than last year in terms of quality opposition, what’s to say he won’t carry this form into the international scene?
Catch his highlights by BsporTV Rugby