Daily Dispatch

Sparkling Mapimpi is Kingmaker

Ex-Border star wins top award

- By GEORGE BYRON

TRY machine Makazole “Drex” Mapimpi has been named “King of Kings” after starring in the Southern Kings’ most successful Super Rugby campaign.

With 11 sparkling tries to his name, 26-year-old Mapimpi landed the coveted Player of the Season award at the Kings’ end-of-season awards.

Mapimpi was one of the finds of the competitio­n as the Kings bagged six wins and finished ahead of the Bulls and Cheetahs on the final Super Rugby log.

The flying wing, who got his nickname Drex after the super villain in the Henry Danger TV series, made over 50 appearance­s for the Border Bulldogs before joining the Kings.

Other strong contenders for the title were skipper Lionel Cronje, Chris Cloete and Andisa Ntsila, all also from the Border region, who played a big part in their team’s memorable campaign.

All four were recognised by the national selectors when they were named in the South African A team to play against the French Barbarians.

The last of Mapimpi’s tries were scored when he crossed the tryline when the Kings were pipped 22-21 in their final game of the season at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium last week.

“It is difficult to compare Super Rugby to Currie Cup First Division rugby,” said Mapimpi.

“I have really enjoyed Super Rugby, but it is not easy. It is at another level altogether. Being able to represent the Southern Kings this year has really meant a lot to me. It has given me the opportunit­y to play Super Rugby and that is great.”

Sadly for the Kings, Mapimpi has signed a contract to play for the Free State Cheetahs until the end of the 2018 season.

“I think it is the right move for me to join the Free State Cheetahs. It will definitely help me to develop my game even more.”

In 2009 Mapimpi was a member of the Border U19 team that played in the 2009 U19 Provincial Championsh­ip.

He was one of several players brought into the Border Bulldogs provincial set-up at the start of 2014.

Mapimpi is one of several players who headed for the exit door after the Kings final Super Rugby clash.

So far it is known that Lionel Cronje (Toyota Verblitz), Louis Schreuder and Tyler Paul (Sharks), Irne Herbst (Bennetton Treviso), Schalk van der Merwe (Ulster) and Chris Cloete (Munster) will be leaving Port Elizabeth.

Exciting back division star Malcolm Jaer has been linked to the Cheetahs, while it is reported that the Stormers are eager to sign Kings flank CJ Velleman.

 ?? Picture: GALLO IMAGES ?? CRÉME DE LA CRÉME: Southern Kings’ Makazole Mapimpi has walked away with the Player of the Season award at the team’s end-of-season awards
Picture: GALLO IMAGES CRÉME DE LA CRÉME: Southern Kings’ Makazole Mapimpi has walked away with the Player of the Season award at the team’s end-of-season awards

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