Mapimpi ... was that selfless or a little silly?
Cape Town - The hat-trick that ... well, wasn't one.
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Saturday’s Super Rugby incident at Ballarat, where prolific-scoring Sharks gas man Makazole Mapimpi sacrificed the opportunity of a well-deserved trio of tries against the beaten Rebels by passing the ball casually to his flyhalf Curwin Bosch to dot it down instead was right up there for quirkiness.
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The flying Springbok left wing had done all the hardest yards - or read: had streaked much of the length of the park, including brushing off a tackle or two - for what, at the time, was an important bonus-point-range score for the visitors.
It put them 5-2 up in the try department, though the Rebels earned a late consolation to strip the KwaZulu-Natalians of the additional log point.
Just as he was about to seemingly complete the formality of applying the ball to the turf at the posts, Mapimpi gave it over to Bosch, who had accompanied him at his shoulder for much of the thrilling raid from deep, to do the necessary instead.
Mapimpi’s action was almost undoubtedly wonderful in many ways: generous and selfless to name just two qualities, and perhaps indicative of a notably healthy team ethic and “gees” in the 2020 Sharks, too.
It was also, after all, the occasion of Bosch’s 50th appearance in Super Rugby, so it became Mapimpi’s little gift to his ally.
But I could still not, personally, stave off just a wee reservation about it.
For one thing, dafter events have happened than for a frankly unnecessary extra pass behind the goal-line to be spilled … or, for those who recall a famous incident out at Wellington many years ago when the Sharks’ Deon Kayser came from “nowhere” to tackle and dispossess Robbie Fleck of the Stormers as he sauntered over for an apparent formality of a try, a defender to launch an eleventh-hour lunge to prevent the score.
Don’t get me wrong, Mapimpi had another electric outing for the Sharks in their heartening, second Australasian tour victory at the weekend, and could unreservedly be said to have warranted the hat-trick (these things don’t come around every day) had he chosen to notch that dot-down himself.
But if I were his head coach, I might have been inclined to have the gentlest word or two of measured admonishment afterwards.
Is this nit-picky on my part? I’m curious to hear your views …
*Rob Houwing is Sport24's chief writer. Follow him on Twitter: @RobHouwing