World Cup winning Springbok head coach Rassie Erasmus broke down in tears when speaking about the tragic background of one of his star players.
Makazole Mapimpi became the first South African player to score a try in a Rugby World Cup final as they defeated England in Japan.
While that moment was certainly a high for Mapimpi, the Springbok flyer has had an extremely tough upbringing.
— SuperSport 🏆 (@SuperSportTV) November 1, 2020
Mapimpi, now 30, grew up in the Eastern Cape of South Africa in a village called Tsholomnga.
The Springbok has already dealt with much hardship in his life, having lost both his mother and his brother when he was younger.
Erasmus, a former Director of Rugby at Munster, took part in a five-part series called ‘Chasing The Sun’ which documented South Africa’s success in the 2019 Rugby World Cup.
The South African squad at that tournament was very representative of the nature of the Rainbow Nation, with players coming from a wide variety of backgrounds.
“I’ve got nobody”
That fact became even more apparent when Erasmus told the story of Mapimpi, which resulted in him breaking down into tears in the documentary.
“On the back of your jersey, there are numbers where you could have photos of family members. He only had photos of himself.
“He didn’t have anyone else, and I asked ‘why are you doing this?’, and he said ‘I’ve got nobody’.
“You know his brother died, his mother died, he doesn’t have a photo. He doesn’t play for the one thing, he just has a massive heart. Massive heart,” Erasmus explained.
Mapimpi was a crucial member of the victorious Springbok squad taken to Japan, starting in six of their seven matches at the World Cup.
While the electric winger has only amassed 14 caps for his country to date, he has undoubtedly booked his place in the Springbok history books, through his performances and personal journey.