Makazole Mapimpi feels for his 'brother' Lukhanyo Am after World Cup blow

Makazole Mapimpi feels for his 'brother' Lukhanyo Am after World Cup blow

Makazole Mapimpi admits that he and Lukhanyo Am were left emotional after they realised his injury was going to keep him out of the Springboks' 33-man World Cup squad.

Am has been battling with a knee injury and suffered a setback that ended his World Cup hopes in the warm-up match against Argentina. He fell awkwardly in a tackle and twisted his knee, and while he attempted to soldier on, he was replaced soon after.

Mapimpi, who scored the first-ever try for South Africa in a World Cup final in 2019 after combining with Am, did not hold back when he spoke about how difficult it is not to have Am with him in the Springbok camp ahead of the global showpiece in France.

"It is tough. It is a guy, I sleep next to him," the Bok wing told TimesLive about his roommate.

"He had the injury and the situation is very emotional. I share everything with him. We talk about everything. We are brothers. When he got injured he was very emotional.

"He has been doing well the last couple of seasons and was nominated as World Rugby Player of the Year. Now all of a sudden, last minute, he is injured. I hope he is going to get better soon and can be part of this squad."

When South Africa's World Cup squad was announced on Tuesday, Mapimpi received the biggest cheer from Bok supporters and SA Rugby president Mark Alexander had to take a pause while waiting to cap the popular wing while the crowd went wild.

Mapimpi admitted that the crowd's reaction caught him by surprise.

"I was surprised that when people saw me they were very happy," he said. "It is kind of nice. I have family and lots of people praying for me. I'm blessed, I need to keep going but I also need to also show people the love that they are showing me."

As one of the stars of the Boks' triumphant 2019 World Cup campaign, Mapimpi is aware that there will be plenty of pressure on him to do well in France but revealed that he is used to feeling the heat.

"Jeez, man, it is something I have been going through since Border and the (Southern) Kings, all of Super Rugby, then at the Springboks," he said.

"I don't put too much on myself. It is not about me but about the team. I put the team first, understand the game plan and am ready to deliver it."

READ MORE: How online comments bred self-doubt for Makazole Mapimpi