In a snippet from the latest edition of SA Rugby magazine, Lukhanyo Am reflects on his long journey alongside Makazole Mapimpi and their interaction in the 2019 World Cup final.
The Sharks were the best South African side on show in the Vodacom Super Rugby tournament prior to the enforced break. Am and Mapimpi – two of the Springboks’ star performers at the 2019 World Cup – have certainly taken their respective games forward in the 2020 edition of the Sanzaar competition.
In an interview with SA Rugby magazine, Am reflected on the South Africa’s growth at the global tournament in Japan as well as his long journey alongside Mapimpi. Last November, Am and Mapimpi combined in sublime fashion to secure South Africa’s first try in a World Cup final.
‘That was the best moment of my career,’ Am says. ‘That try meant a lot in the context of the game. It took us 13 points clear of England. What marked that moment as truly special, however, was the fact that I got to share it with Makazole.
‘We’ve come a long way together. One moment we’re playing for Border in the Currie Cup First Division, and the next we’re throwing passes to one another in a World Cup final staged in front of 70,000 people in Japan.
‘It still feels unreal. I suppose it goes to show what can be achieved when you don’t stop believing.’
Five years ago, Mapimpi’s only ambition was to play regularly for a Super Rugby franchise. When he joined the Sharks in 2018 he started to believe that he could represent the Boks and feature at the World Cup.
Am’s ambitions were similarly modest. He grew up in King Williams Town and developed a deep passion for the game. It was only when he started to play in the Currie Cup First Division, though, that he pursued a career in professional rugby.
Fast forward to the present. Mapimpi has developed into one of the best finishers on the planet. Am has proved a key man for the Boks in the outside centre channel, and may take his game to new heights when the national side builds toward the next big series against the British & Irish Lions in 2021.
‘We want to bring hope to the whole of South Africa,’ says Am of his achievements with the Boks in the 2019 Rugby Championship and World Cup. ‘With regard to the Eastern Cape, I have no doubt that there are a lot more Lukhanyo Ams and Makazole Mapimpis waiting to break through.
‘There is talent in the First Division that should not be ignored. I suppose that our success also shows the young players down in the rural areas that they should never ever give up.’
*The full interview with Am is available in our April edition of SA Rugby magazine, which is now on sale. During this period of lockdown, we hope you are able to get your hands on the latest copy, but we will continue to bring you the best possible content. You can also subscribe here
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