Sables ace Mafura relishing return to Toyota Cheetahs

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Tapiwa Mafura has been in brilliant form for the Pumas this season

Sables star Tapiwa Mafura has spoken of his joy and excitement at sealing a return to South African rugby  union franchise Toyota Cheetahs.

The 26-year-old Zimbabwe rugby international is set to return to Bloemfontein later this year after a very successful season in the ongoing Currie Cup Premier Division with the Air Link Pumas.

The Toyota Cheetahs this week revealed that the exciting Sables outside back and flanker Daniel Maartens will be heading back to Bloemfontein after spending the last couple of years at the Pumas in Nelspruit.

The duo of Maartens and Mafura have both enjoyed regular game time Pumas and have proved to be valuable players at the South African Lowveld team.

Both players will report for duty at the Cheetahs on November 1 as their new club begins preparations for the European Professional Club Rugby (EPCR) knockout competitions, the Champions Cup and the Challenge Cup.

Last year Mafura ran out for Zimbabwe in their warm-up game against the Cheetahs in Bloemfontein and he is relishing another dance at the team after an unsuccessful first spell at the club.

“I’m very excited to be coming back to Bloem and looking forward to joining the Cheetahs again,” Mafura said in an interview with the Bloemfontein-based radio station OFM.

“When I was with the team the first time around it didn’t go as great as I had hoped it would go.

“But I am really excited this time around to get involved with the team again.”

Mafura initially joined the Toyota Cheetahs in November 2018 after representing the Leopards in the Currie Cup First Division.

 

Tapiwa Mafura during his first stint at the Cheetahs in 2018

The Hwange-born utility back was a star player for the North-West University Pukke in the Varsity Cup, and it 2018, along with Cheetahs teammate, Walt Steenkamp, was named as one of the five best players of the tournament.

The lighting fast outside back was named in the Cheetahs Guinness Pro14 tour of Ireland and Wales in February 2019, for matches against Connacht, Scarlets and Leinster.

He however missed the majority of the tour as visa issues prevented him from boarding the flight to Europe with his teammates. He was finally able link up with the squad for the final match against Leinster in Dublin.

He was an outstanding performer for the Toyota Free State XV in the SuperSport Rugby Challenge, and also scored a hat-trick of tries against the Border Bulldogs.

The Zimbabwean star however decided to join Pumas at the end of the 2020 season in search of regular first-team action and the move paid off as he has established himself as one of the top players in the Currie Cup.

After making his Zimbabwe debut last November Mafura is will be a vital player in the Sables squad which will take part at the 2022 Rugby Africa Cup in France next month, which will double as the final qualifier for the 2023 Rugby World Cup.

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