Springbok players Lukhanyo Am and Makazole Mapimpi holding Webb Ellis Trophy outside East London City Hall. Picture: ANA Reporter

East London - SPRINGBOKS winger Makazole Mapimpi, in front of his hometown crowd in East London on Saturday, says “proper systems” and sponsors were needed so as to include rural rugby players who find it difficult to make to teams with resources in cities.

Mapimpi was speaking to the media during the East London leg of the Rugby World Cup trophy tour. 

The tour started in the East London city centre much to the jubilation of the crowd at Oxford Street. Thereafter it proceeded to surrounding areas like Duncan Village, Scenery Park and Fynbos before going to Mdantsane. Other areas visited included Amalinda, Vincent, Nahoon and Quigney.

Mapimpi from Tsholomnqa village, 40km outside East London, said for a “rural boy” like him, playing for Springboks is “an achievement” on its own. It’s even “more like a bonus” to be the first Springbok to score a try in a World Cup, he said.

“My mind was firmly on winning the World Cup. So it was more of a collective effort than an individual one. I thank my family and all the people who have supported us. It was tough for me because it was first time being in the Rugby World Cup. There was a bit of pressure because people were expecting the Springboks to do better, so I was nervous and excited as well to be in the World Cup,” Mapimpi said.

Springboks winger Makazole Mapimpi, in front of his hometown crowd in East London on Saturday. Picture: SITHANDIWE VELAPHI

Mapimpi said playing rugby in rural areas is not easy because of less or no sponsors.

“We need sponsors to develop rugby in places outside cities. I am saying this because it is difficult for young people who live outside cities. There is talent out there, all we need is to have proper systems in place to unearth it. It’s tough playing rugby in East London because even the Border Bulldogs (an East London rugby team) have got no sponsors.

“To people playing rugby in rural areas, I would like to encourage them to focus on the game just like I did. I have set an example that you can succeed even if you come from humble beginnings,” Mapimpi said.

Springboks winger Makazole Mapimpi, in front of his hometown crowd in East London on Saturday. Picture: SITHANDIWE VELAPHI

In front of East London City Hall, where supporters have camped as early as 6am, Springboks captain Siya Kolisi thanked the Eastern Cape folks for their support. “I am proud of you. Thank you very much Eastern Cape. Thank you very much South Africa. We really hope we have inspired you,” he said.

A 10-year-old boy Alu Balfour, from Cambridge, said he plays at his local school and has been inspired by Kolisi. “I love Siya Kolisi and I love rugby,” Balfour said.

Springboks centre Lukhanyo Am said: “I think we have given more hope to the kids. We have paved a way for them (kids).”

Am also praised coach Rassie Erasmus. “He is a world class coach. When he started joining the Boks two years ago, he made us realise how big is to represent Springboks. He made us realise our responsibilities.”

Eastern Cape MEC for Sports and Recreation Fezeka Bayeni said the province was proud of the Springboks’ victory.

The Port Elizabeth leg of the tour in on Sunday before the team heads to Cape Town on Monday. The Port Elizabeth tour will also include Zwide, Kolisi's township. 

Springboks Captain Siya Kolisi lifting the Webb Ellis trophy in East London. Picture: Sithandiwe Velaphi

The route plan for Port Elizabeth on Sunday, 10 November (all times approximate):

09h00: Depart from Garden Court Hotel to City Hall

Turn right into Happy Valley Drive into La Roche Drive
Turn right into La Roche Drive and proceed to Beach Road
Turn left into Beach Road and continue into Humewood Road
Continue along Humewood Road into South Union Road
Continue straight into Baakens Street
Turn right into Vuyisile Mini Square

From Vuyisile Mini Square to Wolfson Stadium

Turn right into Baakens Street and proceed to Govan Mbeki Avenue
Continue along Govan Mbeki Avenue, cros Russell Road and proceed along Govan Mbeki Avenue into Commercial Road
Continue along Commercial Road and turn right into Mati Road
Turn right into Mati Road and proceed to Ferguson Road
Turn right into Ferguson Road and proceed to Mendi Road
Turn left into Mendi Road and proceed to Ngesi Road
Turn right into Ntshekisa Road and proceed to Moduka Street
Turn left into Maqanda Street and proceed to Stofile Street
Turn left Stofile Street and turn right into Wolfson Stadium main Entrance

From Wolfson Stadium to Zwide

Depart from Wolfson Stadium and proceed to Stofile Street
Turn left into Stofile Street and proceed to Matomela Street
Turn left into Matomela Street and proceed to Seyisi Street
Continue along Seyisi Street and proceed to Daku Road
Turn left into Daku Road and proceed to Njoli Square
Turn right into Njoli Road and proceed to Spondo Road
Turn right into Koyana Road and proceed towards Ndzondelelo High School
U-turn at the traffic circle at Jamela Street

From Zwide to Mandela Peace Park (Motherwell)

From Jamela Street traffic circle proceed towards Qeqe Street
Turn left into Qeqe Street and proceed to Salamntu Street
Turn right into Salamntu Street and proceed to Daku Road
Turn left into Daku Road and proceed to Dibanisa Road
Turn left into Tyinira Road and proceed to Khozi Street
Turn right into Khozi Street and right into Mandela Peace Park in Khozi Street

From Mandela Peace Park to Uitenhage

Depart from Mandela Peace Park and proceed to Khozi Street
Turn left into Khozi Street and proceed to Tyinira Road
Turn right into Tyinira Road and proceed to M20
Turn left into M20 and proceed to Daniel Pienaar Road
Continue along Daniel Pienaar Road into Thorn Street to Graaff Reinett Road
Turn left into Graaff Reinett Road and proceed to Church Street
Continue along Church Street to Cannon Street
Turn left into Cannon Street and proceed to Prince Edward Road
Continue along Prince Edward Road to Caledon Street
Turn right into Caledon Street
Continue along Caledon Street into Kamesh Road
Continue along Kamesh Road into Acacia Avenue
Continue along Acacia Avenue into Rosedale Drive
Turn right into Rosedale Drive into Maduna Road
Continue along Maduna Road into Middle Street
Turn right into Middle Street into Caledon Street
Continue along Caledon Street into Cuyler Street
Turn right into Cuyler Street to Matanzima Road
Continue along Matanzima Road to Mabandla Street
Turn right into Mabandla Street and continue along Ponana Tini Road into Matanzima Road
Turn right into Matanzima Road into Melbrookes Avenue
Turn right into Melbrookes Avenue and CROSS Algoa Road into R333
Turn right into R333 towards Main Road Despatch
Turn right into Main Road Despatch into Botha Street towards Old Uitenhage Road

From Uitenhage to Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium

From Old Uitenhage Road towards Nooidgedacht Road
Turn right into Nooidgedacht Road towards Standford Road
Turn left into Standford Road and proceed into Harrower Road towards Fettes Road
Turn left into Fettes Road and left into NMB Stadium

From Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium to Greenacres

From NMB Stadium into Fettes Road
Turn right into Fettes Road into Harrower Road towards Kempstone Road
Turn left into Kempstone Road and proceed into CJ Langenhoven Drive towards Greenacres Mall
Turn left into Ring Road pass the taxi rank
Turn left into Greyville Road into Cape Road
Turn right into Cape Road towards William Moffatt Express Way
Turn left into William Moffatt Express Way towards Buffelsfontein Road
Turn left into Buffelsfontein Road into Heugh Road
Turn right into 3rd Avenue towards PE International Airport
Turn right towards PE International Airport

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