How online comments bred self-doubt for Makazole Mapimpi

  • By Kate Nokwe

  • 9th August 2023

How online comments bred self-doubt for Makazole Mapimpi

Springboks wing Makazole Mapimpi admits he had moments of self-doubt in the lead-up to the 2023 Rugby World Cup team announcement.

With the rise of Bulls duo Kurt-Lee Arendse and Canan Moodie, alongside in-form Cheslin Kolbe, Mapimpi’s place in the team has been a subject of many debates. 

And while the management gave him confidence, the 2019 World Cup winner says comments online planted seeds of doubt. 

"We're all on social media [and] I think, when you touch your phone, you always go through Instagram and Twitter [X], Tik Tok, or something like that, but I wasn't worried about what people were saying about me,I only believe in the coaches," said Mapimpi.

"Also, working with the coaches, they know what they want from me as well and [I need to] keep my mind on the training camps and games at the same time. There was a [bit of] doubt, but I wasn't worried since I was in the camp."

Mapimpi, whose name drew the second-largest cheer behind captain Siya Kolisi during the 33-man squad announcement on Tuesday, explains he has learned to compartmentalise internet hostility.

"It wasn't the first time, I think [it's been happening] my whole career since I started playing for the Springboks, which is a good thing – social media can do whatever they want," he added.

"But at the same time, it does help us as players, and more especially myself, because we see what people want. At the same time I can't focus on what people are saying on the outside, I need to listen to what the coaches are saying, and what they want from me.

"So, I try to block the noise from the outside and listen to the coaches – if the coaches say I need to do this, I need to do this."