Three of the best … for old times’ sake.
That’s arguably what the Cheetahs want out of their next three matches in the Pro14 as they bid farewell to Makazole Mapimpi.
The influential 27-year-old winger has three weeks left at the central franchise before he has to report for duty at the Sharks for this year’s Super Rugby campaign.
His departure is a bit of a bummer for the team from Bloemfontein.
The Cheetahs had pulled off a coup when they signed him from the Kings and Mapimpi hasn’t disappointed.
He’s scored nine tries to date in European competition and will be able to add to his tally on Saturday against Italy’s Zebre as well as the double header against the Kings (13 and 20 January).
But then he has to say goodbye.
A report last month speculated that there was confusion over Mapimpi’s contract and that he might be able to stay with the Cheetahs but the Sharks confirmed to Sarugbymag.co.za that he has a binding agreement.
He’ll join the Durbanites on January 23.
Meanwhile, the Cheetahs look set to go old school with their loose trio combination in Parma.
They have both their Springbok flankers in Oupa Mohoje and Uzair Cassiem available, two men who are over 1.88m tall.
With Paul Schoeman (1.88m) likely to complete the combination, the Cheetahs certainly will be brimming with ball-carrying firepower.
But do they lack a fetcher then at the breakdowns?
Given the bitterly cold conditions they’ll encounter in Italy, that might not be a too much of a factor.