Makazole Mapimpi: The Man Behind The Hype

From Last Word on Rugby, Ryan Jordan

Southern Kings flyer Makazole Mapimpi has enjoyed a meteoric rise from playing club rugby to earning a South Africa A starting spot.

It is still early days in Makazole Mapimpi’s professional career, but he has shown pace, finishing ability and a lot of heart. It is not impossible to imagine that a green blazer and a Springbok cap is his destiny.

Makazole Mapimpi: The Man Behind The Hype

His story is one of being given an opportunity and grabbing that opportunity with both hands and a desire to be successful.

In the 2017 edition of Super Rugby he has scored 9 tries, which is joint first in the South African Conferences along with Courtnall Skosan. Defensively, he has shown glimpses of real maturity. Looking at statistics alone he features in the top 30% of least tackles missed, way ahead of many more highly rated players. A standout example was his single handed shutting down of a three on one overlap against the Rebels by simply being patient and retreating.

Have you ever wondered what his try celebration means? Read through until the end of this article and then watch the video clip.

Do you come from a rugby family? If not, how did you end up playing the game?

There was nobody in my family who played rugby before, I am the first and only one to play the game in my family. I was introduced to rugby at Moni Location Primary, then I went on to play Sunday League and progressed to the Super League in Mdantsane

Who was your first rugby idol and why?
I was, and still am, a big fan of Gio Aplon. He has been an incredible player. What I loved most about him is the amount of pace that he has. Furthermore, despite being a lightweight in stature, he remains one of the hardest workers in the game and plays with no fear and a big heart.
Your rugby journey shows you played for Border at age group level in 2009 and then made your senior debut in 2014. Where you playing at club level in between or did you take a break from the game?

After playing for the Border Bulldogs junior teams (Under-19) in 2009 I played club rugby in Mdantsane between 2010 and 2013, where I played for two of the biggest clubs in the township – Winter Rose and Swallows. I was fortunate enough in 2014 to get a call up to the Border Bulldogs senior team.

How much of an adjustment was it for you to step up from the First Division of the Currie Cup to Super Rugby?

Firstly, when I got the call to join the Southern Kings I knew that this was an opportunity that I had always wanted and I wanted to make the most of it. I always thought that it would be a difficult adjustment to make from playing First Division Currie to an international competition like Super Rugby.

Super Rugby is always tough – week in, week out – but I have somewhat gotten used to the pace, the pressure and the difficulties that come with it. I am truly enjoying myself in the competition.

What did being selected for the South African “A” side mean to you personally?

Every player’s dream is to represent their country. I have no words to describe how I felt when I was selected to represent my country in my first year of playing Super Rugby. I’m really proud of having played for the SA A team. I want to use this achievement as motivation for others who, like me, come from small villages where nobody played rugby and nobody expects people to achieve much. I hope I can inspire others from similar backgrounds to also work towards reaching their dreams.

You have an interesting try celebration. Is there a significant meaning behind the celebration?

The celebration only signifies an incoming call. I have some of my friends and family who often call me after my matches, so it basically means that they must call me.

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