During the Sharks’ 24-36 win over the Rebels on Saturday, Makazole Mapimpi did something completely selfless. The Springbok was on course for a hat-trick. But instead of dotting down himself, he waited for Curwin Bosch and passed the ball to him so he could do the honours.
Bosch was central to setting up the try, having sprinted 90ms alongside Mapimpi to ensure that he had support should he need it. Selflessness has become a bit of a trademark for Mapimpi. Sharks coach Sean Everitt later explained that one of the reasons behind the decision was to mark Bosch’s 50th Super Rugby appearance.
Scratch beneath the surface, though, and there is even deeper significance to the gesture. Bosch returned to the Sharks side after the death of a family member. Mapimpi is no stranger to loss. Before he was 30, he’d lost his sister to illness and his mother in car accident. His brother died when he was electrocuted while trying to steal electricity cables.
Mapimpi’s ability to show empathy has become his trademark. His willingness to play for the team and not for himself further underpinned by that pass.
If he’d scored his hat-trick, the wing would have been joint top-try scorer of the season so far.
Sitting on four tries at present, the fifth would have put him level with Folau Fainga’a from the Brumbies. Allowing Bosch to score also propelled the flyhalf into pole position for most points overall so far. Bosch sits on 46 points, two ahead of Domingo Miotti from the Jaguares.
Antoinette is a recovering journalist, having written for Sports Illustrated, The Guardian, Daily Maverick and others. She has won multiple SAB Journalist of the Year awards, across a variety of categories. She thinks it’s strange writing about herself in the third person, unless she’s playing as herself in The Sims…which she’s been doing for over 20 years.