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Mapimpi joins Japanese side NTT Docomo Red Hurricane

The move to the Asian country comes almost eight months after Mapimpi won the Rugby World Cup with the Springboks.

South Africa's Makazole Mapimpi runs to score a try during the friendly rugby match between Japan and South Africa at the Kumagaya Rugby Stadium in Kumagaya on 6 September 2019. Picture: AFP

JOHANNESBURG - Makazole Mapimpi has become one of four South African’s to head to Japan ahead of the new season.

Mapimpi is joined by Tyler Paul, Ruan Vermaak, and Franco Marais at NTT Docomo Red Hurricane, which is coached by former Lions coach, Johan Ackermann.

The move to the Asian country comes almost eight months after Mapimpi won the Rugby World Cup with the Springboks.

“This season, I join NTT Docomo and it is extremely exciting,” Mapimpi said. “I am honoured to be with you. I have very good memories of last year's World Cup in Japan. And I believe that Red Hurricanes will have more wonderful experiences and memories.

"Also, I am very much looking forward to working as a team with new staff including Johann Ackermann. And finally, I would like to extend my heartfelt gratitude to the South African Association, Sharks, NTT Docomo, and my management team for giving me this wonderful opportunity”.

Forward Marais joins the club after leaving English side Gloucester, whom he joined in 2018.

He said that he was looking forward to the change in continents and clubs.

“I am very much looking forward to the environment,” he revealed. “I believe that getting out of my comfort zone and putting myself in a new environment is the only way to grow. I look forward to contributing to the team as much as I can, both in and out of the field, and to compete in the Top League. We would like to thank NTT Docomo Red Hurricanes for giving us this opportunity. I'm looking forward to seeing you. Arigato”.

Another South African on the move is Franco Mostert, who has left Gloucester to further his career elsewhere.

He is expected to join Japanese side Honda Heat.

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