DURBAN — Rising rugby star Dylan Richardson has re-signed for the Sharks until 2024, ending speculation that he might be on the move and, in a further boost, World Cup winner Makazole Mapimpi will be fit and raring to go when the Sharks play the Lions in a Rainbow Cup match next week.
The 22-year-old Richardson is one of the hottest properties in South African rugby because of his ability to excel at both hooker and openside flank, with the latter position being where he lit up the recent Currie Cup.
There had been speculation that Richardson was in the market to leave the Sharks — with reported interest from Western Province — because of the arrival in Durban of Springbok captain Siya Kolisi, also a No 6 flanker, plus the open secret that Kolisi’s Bok teammate, hooker Bongi Mbonambi, is to move to the Sharks after the series against the British and Irish Lions.
But Richardson has chosen to re-sign with the Sharks, the union he joined straight from KZN school Kearsney College. Sean Everitt then coached the stocky Richardson in the undefeated Sharks Under-19 team that won their division with ease in 2018. That team also boasted current Sharks in Sanele Nohamba, Phepsi Buthelezi, Celimpilo Gumede, Jaden Hendrikse and Boeta Chamberlain.
Richardson was also a member of the SA Under-20 team that won bronze at the World Championship in Argentina in 2019.
Mapimpi recently returned to Jonsson Kings Park after a successful stint with the Docomo Red Hurricanes in Japan and coach Everitt reckons the left wing is in fine shape, and is likely to see action against the Lions when the Rainbow Cup resumes next weekend.
“He’s been amazing, on and off the field. He’s always in good nick from a conditioning perspective, but the fact is he hasn’t played much and trained much, so it has been good for him to get a full week of training under the belt in preparation for his return,” Everitt said.
At the Red Hurricanes, Mapimpi played under former Golden Lions coach Johan Ackermann and alongside All Blacks and Hurricanes scrumhalf TJ Perenara.
“He really enjoyed the experience,” Everitt says. “Makazole is a guy who likes to learn every day he comes to training. He prides himself on learning and going to bed at night having added something new to his knowledge. It was exciting and enriching for him, especially playing with the likes of TJ and learning from different coaches, too.
“He has come back with some good ideas, and he certainly has been sharing a lot of info. One of the things he did say is that we don’t play very differently from the teams in Japan, but the detail within the model is just slightly different. So, he’s been adding a lot of input in team meetings and training. It’s a pleasure to have him back.”