11 September 2019, by: Sibusiso Mjikeliso

Makazole Mapimpi: Always counted out, always bites back

A YEAR or so ago, Makazole Mapimpi was at the bottom of the list of players people would have pegged to be a sure-fire starter at the Rugby World Cup for the Springboks.

GET THE ADVANTAGE WITH OUR RUGBY WORLD CUP OFFERS

Extensive pre-match and live in-play markets throughout the tournament.

Daily BET Boosts to give you extra value on every game!

Offer exclusive to BET.co.za customers.

JOIN NOW        BET: RWC 2019
Ts & Cs apply.

Mapimpi overlooked by Coetzee and Smith

In 2017, his most prolific try-scoring year-to-date, former Bok coach Allister Coetzee failed to give him a deserved Springbok call-up. This after Mapimpi touched down 11 times for the Southern Kings in Super Rugby, six times for the Cheetahs in the Currie Cup and 10 times in the Pro 14 for the Cheetahs.

For reasons known only to Coetzee and his backline assistant Franco Smith, Mapimpi was deemed not good enough to tour with the Boks that year. According to the grapevine, it was out of spite. Mapimpi had signed an improved offer to join the Sharks for Super Rugby in 2018 and that didn’t go down well with his paymasters in Bloemfontein.

Mapimpi's talent was not always obvious

Mapimpi was one of the gems to come from the Border team that produced fellow World Cup Springbok Lukhanyo Am as well as a number of players currently roaming the domestic scene, such as Lions tighthead Johannes Jonker and Kings fullback/flyhalf Masixole Banda.

But even in East London, he wasn’t considered the best winger at the Bulldogs. One Michael Makase was, unofficially, ranked as a higher prospect and had received a couple of Kings training call-ups before Mapimpi had his big break at the Kings that 2017 season.

Even Lungelo Payi, the former SuperSport Xhosa commentator who dabbled as an agent helping facilitate opportunities for Border players at the Kings (Payi played for both teams as a lock), was not completely sold on Mapimpi as a potential Bok. The kid from Tsholomnqa could play but his wing partner Makase could really play and he was a toe quicker.

However, Makase was prone to a drag of a fag during a night out, allegedly. He lacked the discipline that was nailed onto Mapimpi.

“I never looked at Mapimpi as a guy that was a Bok certainty at Border, like I did Lukhanyo Am, but he quickly became an example of what could be achieved through hard work,” says Payi.

“There are players that played with him that ought to have gone further in the game than he did – guys more talented than he is. But because he knew how to handle himself as a professional player, he was able to make the step up.”

Sharks move was key for Bok chance

Back to 2018, at the Sharks. Not many thought he’d get game time under then Sharks coach Robert du Preez. Indeed, the Mapimpi signing seemed forced onto Du Preez senior.

Mapimpi wasn’t an immediate starter but did enough to remain in the Springbok conversation. It was the glimpse he needed. Although he was much in the shadow of the dynamic duo of Aphiwe Dyantyi and S’bu Nkosi in Rassie Erasmus’s first year as Bok coach, he stealthily bided his time.

Cheslin Kolbe being brought into the Bok fold as a winger also didn’t sway Mapimpi. And now, with just over a week before the start of the Rugby World Cup in Japan, Mapimpi has emerged as the coach’s trump card.

Mapimpi has Rassie's trust

Put the hat-trick against the Brave Roses in the warm-up game last Friday aside, Mapimpi has grown in estimation inside the Bok dressing room. He is the one backline player, those close to the coach say, that follows the instructions to the tee.

The defensive “mistake” for which he was chastised on social media in the 16-all draw with the All Blacks in Wellington was, actually, not a mistake at all. The Boks’ defensive system lines up like a banana, whereby the wingers are told to close the attacking team’s penultimate (second-to-last) pass by rushing onto the ball-carrier and forgetting about the overlapping players.

Against the All Blacks, who profited from a Duane Vermeulen first-phase knock-on, that penultimate player was Jack Goodhue, who was too skilled and too quick to get caught by a fragmented defence. And so he and Beauden Barrett set forth a give-and-go counter-attack, which let Goodhue free for the score. 

Many expected Mapimpi, who rushed and missed, to be dropped the following weekend against Argentina but Erasmus was too smart to be so trigger-happy. So he kept Mapimpi and got rewarded with a try and a complete performance from the team in Salta. He showed faith in them and they repaid him with the Rugby Championship trophy.

And heading into the vital World Cup opener against the old foe in Yokohama, Mapimpi, who many thought would be lucky to get game time, has emerged as the player the Boks could ill afford to be without. 

His speed of movement and thought, though not as nifty as Kolbe on the opposite wing, gives the Springboks something they used to get from Bryan Habana. And much like a cobra (iPhimpi in isiXhosa is a cobra), he is ready to strike.

BET NOW AND GET 100% DEPOSIT MATCH UP TO R1000

Open your BET.co.za account here

Deposit using your preferred method

Contact support to get your first deposit bonus added

JOIN NOW
New customer offer. Ts & Cs apply.

MORE RUGBY

Rugby Championship Predictions – Round 2

RWC19 Live Blog: South Africa v New Zealand

| Features, Latest, Rugby, Rugby World Cup 2019 | No Comments
21 September 2019, by: Max Benson of Extra Time Media RWC19 Live Blog: South Africa v New Zealand Welcome to BET Central's live Rugby World Cup for one of rugby's…

RWC19 Live Blog: Japan v Russia

| Features, Latest, Rugby, Rugby World Cup 2019 | No Comments
20 September 2019, by: Antoinette Muller of Extra Time Media RWC19 Live Blog: Japan v Russia Welcome to BET Central's live Rugby World Cup blog for the touornament opener between…
Siya Kolisi: Owning his crown

Siya Kolisi: Owning his crown

| Features, Latest, Rugby, Rugby World Cup 2019 | No Comments
19 September 2019, by: Ludumo Nkabi Siya Kolisi: Owning his crown The phenomenon of co-captaincy has taken off in recent years and to a large degree has proven a huge…
Golden Springbok Moments - RWC 2015

Golden Springbok Moments – RWC 2015

| Features, Latest, Rugby, Rugby World Cup 2019 | No Comments
19  September 2019, by: Quintin van Jaarsveld GOLDEN SPRINGBOK MOMENTS - RWC 2015 The Springboks have enjoyed many magical moments on the biggest stage of them all since they shook…
Rugby Championship Predictions – Round 2

RWC19 Live Blog: South Africa v New Zealand

| Features, Latest, Rugby, Rugby World Cup 2019 | No Comments
21 September 2019, by: Max Benson of Extra Time Media RWC19 Live Blog: South Africa v New Zealand Welcome to BET Central's live Rugby World Cup for one of rugby's…

RWC19 Live Blog: Japan v Russia

| Features, Latest, Rugby, Rugby World Cup 2019 | No Comments
20 September 2019, by: Antoinette Muller of Extra Time Media RWC19 Live Blog: Japan v Russia Welcome to BET Central's live Rugby World Cup blog for the touornament opener between…
PSL Predictions - Matchday 6

PSL Predictions – Matchday 6

| Features, Latest, PSL, Soccer, Soccer Betting Tips, Tips | No Comments
19 September 2019, by: Leonard Solms PSL Predictions - Matchday 6 The past week has been a rollercoaster for many PSL clubs. Chippa United, AmaZulu and Black Leopards have all…
Premier League Stat Pack - Gameweek 6

Premier League Stat Pack – Gameweek 6

| Features, Latest, Soccer, Soccer Betting Tips, Tips | No Comments
19 September 2019, by: Carl Lewis PREMIER LEAGUE STAT PACK - GAMEWEEK 6 Premier League action commences after a mixed bag of results for the ‘Big Boys’ in the Champions…

Leave a Reply