Lionel Mapoe, born on 13 July 1988, is a talented South African rugby union footballer known for his versatility as a centre or winger. With his impressive performances and valuable contributions to various teams, he has established himself as a key player in the South African rugby landscape.
Mapoe's rugby journey began in the domestic scene, making his senior debut for the Cheetahs in the 2008 Currie Cup. He quickly showcased his skills and potential, earning him a spot in the Cheetahs' Super Rugby squad in 2010. He made his Super Rugby debut against the Bulls in the opening round of that season, marking the beginning of his top-tier professional career.
After his stint with the Cheetahs, Mapoe joined the Lions in 2011. He continued to make significant strides in his career, even spending a year on loan with the Bulls in 2013 when the Lions were relegated. During this time, he gained valuable experience and showcased his abilities as a dynamic backline player.
In 2015, Mapoe's talent and hard work were rewarded when he earned a call-up to the Springbok squad for the TRC (The Rugby Championship) and had a real chance to be selected for the 2015 Rugby World Cup. His performances for the Lions in the 2015 Super Rugby edition played a crucial role in catching the attention of the national selectors. Prior to this, he had already represented the SA Under-20 team and the SA Sevens team, highlighting his versatility and skill set.
As Mapoe's career progressed, he continued to impress both domestically and internationally. In 2016, he had a standout season for the Lions, playing in the outside center position and contributing significantly to the team's success. His quick feet, silky hands, and deceptive speed made him a potent attacking threat. By the end of the 2016 Super Rugby season, he had amassed an impressive record of 61 caps and 20 tries.
His performances for the Lions not only solidified his place as a key player for the team but also earned him international recognition. Mapoe made his international debut against New Zealand in 2015 and went on to earn a total of 10 appearances for the national team.
With his impressive track record, Mapoe headed into the 2018 Super Rugby season with 94 caps to his name and 135 points scored since his debut. His contributions on the field played a significant role in the Lions' journey to their third Super Rugby Final.
Mapoe's skill, experience, and dedication led to his recall to the Springbok squad for the Rugby Championship in 2018, further cementing his status as a respected and valued player in South African rugby.
Currently, Lionel Mapoe continues to make his mark in the sport, representing the Bulls in the United Rugby Championship and the Blue Bulls in the Currie Cup. His agility, speed, and ability to make an impact both on attack and defense make him a valuable asset to any team he represents.
As Mapoe's rugby career continues to unfold, his skill, experience, and commitment to excellence position him as one of South Africa's prominent rugby stars. His contributions on the field, both domestically and internationally, have left a lasting impression on the sport and solidify his place among the country's elite rugby players.
|2013 - present
|2010 - 2013
|South Africa A
|2017 - 2017
|2013 - 2018
|Kubota Spears Funabashi Tokyo Bay
|2016 - 2018
|2011 - 2019
|2014 - 2019
|2019 - 2020