Bryan Habana recalls emotional story involving Makazole Mapimpi

South Africa legend Bryan Habana recalls emotional moment Makazole Mapimpi revealed he has ‘only me’ in his life after putting photo of himself on back of his shirt instead of family… with Springboks team-mates left in tears

  • Bryan Habana retold an emotional story involving Makazole Mapimpi
  • Mapimpi scored three tries in South Africa’s 76-0 win over Romania on Sunday
  • Springboks legend Habana explained Mapimpi even had Rassie Erasmus in tears
  • Latest Rugby World Cup 2023 news, including fixtures, live scores and results

Makazole Mapimpi’s heart-wrenching story of his rise to success once had nearly all of the South Africa rugby dressing room in tears, as revealed by Springboks legend Bryan Habana.

Mapimpi scored three tries in South Africa’s dominant 76-0 Rugby World Cup victory over Romania on Sunday and Habana retold a story after the match of the 33-year-old’s difficult upbringing.

Explaining how players were previously sent pictures from family members to put on the back of their jerseys at previous World Cups, Mapimpi only had an image of himself.

Habana explained how players initially thought Mapimpi was being vein before he revealed the true reason for his actions was because he had nobody else but himself.

‘In previous World Cups, every player got sent photos of family and friends to put on the numbers on the back of their jerseys,’ Habana told ITV.

Makazole Mapimpi’s heart-wrenching story of his rise to success once had nearly all of the South Africa rugby dressing room in tears

Mapimpi (right) revealed to his team-mates that he only had himself growing up after the death of his mother at a young age

‘Makazole’s had only his face on it. All the guys joked, “you think too much of yourself”. He was asked why and he said, “Because I only have me”. He said, “My mother died when I was young, my dad is not in my life, the only person who carries myself is me”. 

‘And that whole team room went sombre, there was weeping and Rassie Erasmus started crying, which shows the raw emotions. 

‘For a guy to speak to so many people who have that history and background is absolutely inspirational,’ he added.

Mapimpi’s revelation left South Africa’s director of Rugby, Rassie Erasmus, in tears as the stalwart South African was left incredibly moved by the reasoning.

Other players had pictures of friends and family embedded into the number of their shirts at the previous World Cup in Japan.

Springboks legend Habana (left) explained the incident had left players weeping in the dressing room

South Africa director of rugby Rassie Erasmus (middle) broke down in tears when Mapimpi made the revelation

The player asked for no sympathy but was met with an outpouring of support from the rugby community after Erasmus previously documented the incident in a television interview.

Erasmus struggled to contain his tears in a series called Chasing the Sun where he explained the moving moment prior to South Africa’s World Cup victory in 2019.

‘On the back of the number, players have family members after being given photos, but he only had photos of himself because he didn’t have anybody else,’ he said.

The former Springboks coach was left wiping tears away as he recalled the touching dressing room moment. 

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