United Rugby Championship

Everitt feels hat-trick hero Mapimpi is the best No 11 in the world

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Makazole Mapimpi (Gallo)
Makazole Mapimpi (Gallo)
  • Sharks coach Sean Everitt said winger Makazole Mapimpi has claims to be the best number 11 in world rugby.
  • Mapimpi scored a hat-trick in the Sharks' 47-37 United Rugby Championship win against the Lions at Ellis Park on Saturday.
  • Everitt also felt his side was getting close to the pre-Covid-19 group that was the best of the South African Super Rugby bunch.

Sharks coach Sean Everitt believes that Springbok winger Makazole Mapimpi has every claim to be the best number 11 in world rugby.

The 31-year-old pace merchant who has 17 tries from 23 Tests scored a hat-trick in the Sharks 47-37 win against the Lions in their United Rugby Championship clash at Ellis Park on Saturday.

Everitt was more than chuffed with Mapimpi's return in the helter-skelter game, where the flyer scored two in the first half and one in the second stanza.

He had a chance for a fourth one late in the game, but his work saw Bok team-mate and Sharks captain Lukhanyo Am also getting on the scoresheet.

Their contributions left Everitt gushing over their importance to the Sharks' cause.

"Those guys are the best in the world in their positions and when you at Mapimpi, you've got to think he's the best left-wing in the world," Everitt said.

"We talk about Cheslin Kolbe, but every time Mapimpi plays, he gets over the chalk, regardless of the level he plays at.

"Lukhanyo Am has been superb and probably the best 13 in the world and it's great they can perform like that for their franchise.

"It shows that they're proud of their franchise and they want to pay back because at times, you get players who perform at a higher level, but don't do so for their franchise.

The Springboks in the Sharks backline had a big say in the result. Aphelele Fassi not only showed Lions counterpart EW Viljoen a clean pair of heels at every given chance, but also used his boot and height effectively.

Despite only playing two Tests for the Boks last year in his extended camp stay, he looked an even better player.

Am had his hands full trying to contain Wandisile Simelane, but his class shone through while S'bu Nkosi kept Sibahle 'Rabz' Maxwane quiet.

With former Australian international Ben Tapuai giving the Sharks a different dimension at inside center, Everitt was tempted to say his side was getting close to their pre-Covid-19 ability.

"The type of rugby that you play is also dependant on the personnel that you have available at your disposal," Everitt said.

"Having guys like Nkosi, Mapimpi, and Fassi, with Fassi being much improved from the game against the Cheetahs, there are opportunities and those guys can nail them.

"That's what happened in this game and that's the reason why we won the game."

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