Makazole Drex Mapimpi, born on 26 July 1990, is a South African professional rugby union player who has made his mark as a winger and centre. He represents the South Africa national team and the Sharks in the United Rugby Championship. Mapimpi's notable achievement came as a vital member of the Springboks' victorious squad in the 2019 Rugby World Cup held in Japan. In the final, he etched his name in history by becoming the first South African player to score a try in a World Cup Final.
Born and raised in Twecu, a rural area near East London, Mapimpi experienced a difficult upbringing. He lost his mother at a young age and had no knowledge of his father. Tragically, his brother and sister also passed away, leaving him without immediate family.
Mapimpi's breakthrough in professional rugby began in 2014 when he joined the Border Bulldogs. The union's financial struggles led to the inclusion of amateur players like Mapimpi, who was given the opportunity to play for the team in the second division of the Currie Cup. Despite not attending a prestigious South African school or being selected for Craven Week, Mapimpi proved his worth and earned a regular place in the senior squad. His remarkable performance in a Vodacom Cup match against the Boland Cavaliers, where he scored a hat-trick of tries and contributed 24 points through conversions and penalties, highlighted his talent and versatility.
In 2017, Mapimpi caught the attention of the Southern Kings and made an immediate impact in Super Rugby, scoring 11 tries in just 14 games. His impressive form prompted the Cheetahs to sign him, and he continued to excel, scoring four tries in 10 Super Rugby matches and 10 tries in 13 PRO14 games.
The Sharks secured Mapimpi's services for the 2018 Super Rugby season. Although his try tally was lower compared to his previous teams, he showcased his abilities and earned a call-up to the Springboks. He made his test debut against Wales in Washington DC, scoring a try in his first appearance. By the end of 2018, he had accumulated four test caps.
Mapimpi's try-scoring prowess continued with the Sharks, and he retained his place in the Springboks squad. He played a crucial role in several matches, including a draw against the All Blacks and victories over Namibia and Italy. However, his most memorable moment came in the Rugby World Cup Final when he became the first Springbok to score a try in the final, setting up Lukhanyo Am with a perfectly executed kick. South Africa went on to win the final, defeating England 32-12.
In the 2020 Super Rugby season, Mapimpi demonstrated his attacking prowess once again, scoring five tries in six games before the season was interrupted. He temporarily joined the Red Hurricanes, a Top League side, on loan from the Sharks.
As of November 2020, Mapimpi had an impressive record of 14 tries in 14 test matches for the Springboks. He was selected for the Springbok squad to face the British & Irish Lions in 2021 and represented the South Africa A team in a victory over the Lions, further solidifying his position as a key player in the national setup. Makazole Mapimpi's journey from adversity to triumph serves as an inspiration to aspiring rugby players and fans worldwide.
Ahead of the Rugby World Cup 2023, Mapimpi has been named in the South African training squad.
|2017 - present
|2018 - present
|Jim Mvabaza Senior Secondary School
|2009 - 2010
|2009 - 2016
|2017 - 2017
|2017 - 2017
|Free State Cheetahs
|2017 - 2017
|2019 - 2019
|NTT DoCoMo Red Hurricanes Osaka
|2021 - 2021
|South Africa A
|2017 - 2023
|2018 - 2023