Mapimpi says young stars have brought fresh energy to Bok squad
The 2019 World Cup hero is being pushed hard by the likes of Canan Moodie and Kurt-Lee Arendse.
Makazole Mapimpi has a fight on his hands to retain a Bok starting place in France. Picture: Juan Jose Gasparini/Gallo Images
Mapimpi has grown to veteran status in the Springbok team and next month’s Rugby World Cup in France will be the second of his illustrious career.
The speedster will form part of the core group that won the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan, and they will be joined by a talented crop of players that have been produced in the last four-year cycle.
Competition and depth
The likes of Ox Nche, Kurt-Lee Arendse, Canan Moodie, Jaden Hendrikse, Manie Libbok and Jasper Wiese, among others, have increased the depth and heightened the competition for places in the Boks squad.
Mapimpi, who is competing for a starting berth with Arendse and Moodie in the World Cup core team, has embraced the energy they have brought to the fold.
“If the other guys are doing well, it’s good for the team … it’s not about me,” Mapimpi said ahead of Friday night’s warm-up game against the All Black in London.
“More than anything, it’s part of sport. I’m glad that the younger guys can walk into the team. We are always waiting for the guys to come; it helps to build the team going forward because they have a lot of energy. All the guys in the team feed off their energy,” he said.
‘Grateful for chance’
Friday’s encounter with New Zealand is a chance for Mapimpi to stake his claim for a prominent role at the World Cup.
“On my side it’s important for me to get another chance to play before the World Cup. I’m grateful to have been given a chance, I’m looking forward to Friday,” he said.
“This game is important even though it’s a warm-up match. Our preparations are going well as you saw in the match played last weekend.
“It’s always a good challenge when we play against the All Blacks. We are meeting in England, so it will be 50-50 with the fans.
“We are excited as the Springboks to get a chance to play the All Blacks before the World Cup, we don’t know if we might play them in the quarterfinals,” said the 38-cap Bok.