Rugby star Makazole Mapimpi has dispelled concerns of racism in the Springboks squad sparked by viral videos on social media.
The clips were taken soon after South Africa’s game against Italy at the Rugby World Cup on Friday.
They show a group of Boks players huddling together as Mampimpi approached. However, Mapimpi appeared to realise something before turning away from the group hug.
For some fans on social media, this suggested that the players huddling together were sidelining Mapimpi.
‘Players from the bench’
In a video he posted on Instagram on Saturday, Mapimpi explained that he wasn’t being sidelined at all.
He said the players seen in the huddle are usually introduced into the game from the bench and therefore have “their own thing going on” to motivate each other.
The star player said this group of players is known as the “bomb squad.”
As he was approaching them, he realised that they were motivating each other as usual after a game and he didn’t want to intrude, he added.
Mapimpi said this is the only reason he turned away, adding that there is nothing wrong in the Springboks squad as has been suggested on social media.
Some fans were however still sceptical even after Mapimpi’s explanation. Instagram user thabiso_star23 replied, “I don’t buy this story. You won as collective so you have to celebrate as a collective.”
However, others such as former Generations actor Sidwell Ngwenya accepted Mapimpi’s account of what had transpired.
He tweeted, “So the dudes on the bench are called the ‘bomb squad?’ You learn something new everyday. Mapimpi has clarified everything. Let’s enjoy some rugby…”
Hopefully, South Africa will continue to rally behind the Boks as they face Canada in their final Group B game on Tuesday for a spot in the quarter finals.