Mapimpi included as Springboks unveil World Cup squad

Charlie Talbot-Smith
26 August 2019

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South Africa’s 31-man squad that will head to Japan for Rugby World Cup 2019 was unveiled on Monday and it includes former Guinness PRO14 try scorer Makazole Mapimpi.

Makazole Mapimpi in action for Toyota Cheetahs in the Guinness PRO14

The former Toyota Cheetahs flyer Mapimpi is included in the back three but there is no place for the injured Ulster back row forward Marcell Coetzee.

Siya Kolisi captains the Springbok side that will face off in Pool B with world champions New Zealand, Italy, Namibia and Canada.

Zebre and Benetton Rugby from the Guinness PRO14 will have been interested observers on Monday when Rassie Erasmus unveiled his squad with a 17 forward to 14 back split.

That means up front there is room for both Schalk Brits and Bongi Mbonambi at hooker behind Malcolm Marx, while the four locks of Eben Etzebeth, RG Snyman, Lood de Jager and Franco Mostert might just be the best in world rugby.

Kolisi in the back row has the welcome experience of Francois Louw and Duane Vermeulen alongside him as well as Pieter Steph du Toit and Kwagga Smith.

In the backs former Scarlet Herschel Jantjies gets the nod in the halfbacks with Faf de Klerk and Cobus Reinach, while Handre Pollard and Elton Jantjies are the options at No.10.

In midfield Damian de Allende and Lukhanyo Am are joined by Jesse Kriel and Francois Steyn.

The back three sees Mapimpi rivalling Cheslin Kolbe, S’bu Nkosi, Warrick Gelant and Willie le Roux for game time.

“We’ve been working towards this moment for the best part of two years and we’ve been lucky in achieving most of our goals this season,” said Erasmus.

“We’ve been able to give everyone in the squad some good game time as well as develop combinations with squad rotation and not lose momentum as we go to the World Cup.

“But the results and performances up to now will mean nothing once we are in Japan. It is a case of back to square one; putting in the work on the training field and in the planning sessions to build on what we have achieved.”

Credit: Scarlets

The Springboks open their Rugby World Cup campaign against New Zealand in Yokohama on Saturday, September 21 before further Pool B matches against Namibia (September 28), Italy (October 4) and Canada (October 8).

The top two teams from the Springboks’ Pool will face quarter-finals against the top two teams from Pool A featuring Ireland, Scotland, Japan, Russia and Samoa.

The Springboks will play a final warm-up match against Japan on Friday, September 6 in Kumagaya.

Springboks’ 31-man Rugby World Cup squad:

Forwards (17)

Schalk Brits (Bulls), Lood de Jager (Bulls), Pieter-Steph du Toit (Stormers), Eben Etzebeth (Stormers), Steven Kitshoff (Stormers), Vincent Koch (Saracens, England), Siya Kolisi (captain, Stormers), Francois Louw (Bath, England), Frans Malherbe (Stormers), Malcolm Marx (Lions), Bongi Mbonambi (Stormers), Tendai Mtawarira (Sharks), Franco Mostert (Gloucester, England), Trevor Nyakane (Bulls), Kwagga Smith (Lions), RG Snyman (Bulls), Duane Vermeulen (Bulls)

Backs (14)

Lukhanyo Am (Sharks), Damian de Allende (Stormers), Faf de Klerk (Sale Sharks, England), Warrick Gelant (Bulls), Elton Jantjies (Lions), Herschel Jantjies (Stormers), Cheslin Kolbe (Toulouse, France), Jesse Kriel (Bulls), Makazole Mapimpi (Sharks), S’bu Nkosi (Sharks), Willie le Roux (Toyota Verblitz, Japan), Handre Pollard (Bulls), Cobus Reinach (Northampton Saints, England), Frans Steyn (Montpellier, France)

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