Springboks

Magnificent Mapimpi typically downplays Springbok exploits: 'I'm just doing my job'

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Bok winger Makazole Mapimpi on the charge... (Photo by Steve Haag/Gallo Images)
Bok winger Makazole Mapimpi on the charge... (Photo by Steve Haag/Gallo Images)
  • Springbok try machine Makazole Mapimpi was typically humble in downplaying his two-try performance against Scotland, stating he's merely doing his job.
  • It's a job he does magnificently as his 19 tries in 23 Tests now gives him the best try-scoring ratio for a South African to have played more than 20 Tests.
  • But national coach Jacques Nienaber points out that Mapimpi is much more than just a finisher, he's evolving into a brilliant all-round player.

Makazole Mapimpi's ability to score tries is so ruthless that it borders on pure simplicity and it's a trait that extends to his off-field persona.

Despite lighting up Murrayfield with a stunning brace in the Springboks' 30-15 victory over Scotland on Saturday, the insatiable winger was typically humble and un-fussy in stating that he was merely doing his job.

Mapimpi twice showed his searing pace to round off swift, incisive attacking moves from turnover possession, which had other common contributors on both occasions in Lukhanyo Am, Willie le Roux and Damian de Allende.

READ | Mapimpi magic and dominant pack guide Springboks to comfortable win over Scots

"It's a good feeling to have the ball in my hand and when I'm handed opportunities to finish something off," the 31-year-old said with a wry smile.

"But it's my job too. There's a real desire from us to strike as much as possible (on attack). We do a lot of analysis on teams and some instances (like this match) it's about attacking from a turnover."

Whether one wants to call Mapimpi's craft "simply doing his job" or not, it's undeniable that he does it brilliantly.

His latest exploits mean he's scored against every Test-playing nation that he's played against and also gives him the best try-scoring ratio for any Springbok that's played 20 or more Tests.

Mapimpi's 19 tries from 24 matches translates into 0.77 five-pointers per game, equal with Danie Gerber and ahead of Gerrie Germishuys (0.60).

Put into perspective, Bryan Habana - the Boks' leading try-scorer in history - scored 0.54 tries per game.

Yet the beauty of Mapimpi's achievements lies in the fact that he embodies the modern wing in doing his fair share of work off the ball too.

He's reliable under the high ball and completed all of his tackles.

"Makazole is an outstanding player," said a gleaming Bok head coach, Jacques Nienaber.

"He scored two glittering tries. He's doing that against every team he faces. If you look at the work he does off the ball and in training, it's amazing. He just works so hard on his whole game.

"His skill-set just keeps developing and improving, not just his finishing."

Mapimpi admitted that his second try probably wouldn't have been scored had it not been for De Allende's nifty off-load.

"That was actually something that I didn't expect. My eyes were just on Damian himself, so I had to switch them quite quickly. 

"It was awesome." 

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