Springbok wing Makazole Mapimpi hopes that South Africa’s World Cup win will inspire and motivate the youth of his home province of the Eastern Cape.
Mapimpi, the first South African to ever score a try in a World Cup final, has enjoyed a remarkable rise to the peak of the game, after only making his debut for the Boks in June of last year.
Speaking at a media conference on Tuesday, Mapimpi reflected on the team’s incredible win and thanked the nation’s fans for all their well wishes during the tournament.
‘There are young boys who saw what happened. I also couldn’t believe that I would make it in the Springbok team and World Cup, but it was a blessing [that I made it],’ said the Bok flyer.
Mapimpi scored six tries and finished as the second-top try-scorer at the World Cup, one behind Wales’ Josh Adams. The wing, who has gained a reputation for being one of the best finishers in the game, has now scored 14 tries in as many Tests in the green and gold.
‘It’s amazing. I couldn’t believe it all night,’ said Mapimpi when asked how he felt after scoring the opening try in the final.
The humble 29-year-old also thanked his teammates and family for their continued support throughout his career.
Immediately after last Saturday’s final at the Yokohama Stadium, Mapimpi took a second to compose himself after the realisation of what he and his teammates had achieved, began to sink in.
‘I wasn’t thinking about the World Cup in 2015. I was playing for Border at that stage,’ said Mapimpi.
‘I watched the tournament from my home in the Eastern Cape and admired players like Bryan Habana. I never thought the day would come where I would be standing here, let alone wearing this medal.
‘This means so much to me as someone coming from the rural area in the Eastern Cape. I didn’t play Craven Week or SA Schools. Fortunately I had people who pushed me and suggested that I could be more.’
Photo: Sydney Seshibedi/Gallo Images