A path, as time has proved, that took her around the world at a young age and more importantly, allowed her to captain her country on the big stage.
That first try would put the multi-talented Xesi-born sportswoman on a journey to represent Team South Africa at Rugby Sevens at the Commonwealth Games in Australia, the Springbok Women in Test matches in Europe and as a Springbok Women's Sevens player to compete in places such as Amsterdam, Dubai, Hong Kong and San Francisco.

Rugby's gain was also cricket's loss as the lure of rugby meant that South Africa's Under-19 Women's Cricket team lost one of their best bowlers at the time. Cricket had the upper hand originally with the talented Mpupha, who also played soccer and netball at Nyameko Secondary School in Mdantsane.
"I was very active from a very young age, so much so that I was playing so many sports throughout high school. I played netball, soccer, cricket athletics and rugby,” the 25-year-old University of Fort Hare graduate recalls.

"I was more into cricket when first asked to play rugby, but I said no thanks first. A teacher, Mr Koko Godlo, finally convinced me to give it a go and once I started, I wanted to learn more. I was still scared to play though and when our first matches came around, I stayed away!
“Mr Godlo did not give up though and promised me R50 if I scored a try," Mpupha said.

"Then my first game finally came and I did well got two tries that game and BOOM, sorted with pocket money for school for the whole week. I kept on training and playing, but soon it was not about the money, I was enjoying myself more and more."
At the time, Mpupha was playing for the U19 national cricket team already, having represented Border at provincial tournaments.
“That year, I was doing matric, I made the Border Sevens team and the next year the Border 15s team. In 2012 I also played for the Springbok Women's Under 20 team that went to the Nations Cup in the UK,” she recalls.

Mpupha, now studying Human Movement Sciences at the University of Fort Hare, was called into the Springbok Women's Sevens team in 2014 to play in a HSBC World Rugby Women’s Sevens tournament in Amsterdam.
"I was offered a contract with the sevens, but I had to choose between my studies and the contract. I chose to finish my studies as I was doing my third year already. You can’t really rely on rugby without having anything to fall back," she warns.

Graduation Day came, but the call from Stellenbosch (home base for the Springbok Women's team) did not.
"It did not stop the dream for me, I just kept on playing rugby and cricket for Border at the time."

In 2016 though, it all started to happen for Mpupha.

"Everything turned around for me and I started reaching my dreams. That year I had a very productive season for Border in both sevens and fifteens and was named Player of the Year. I was also named Player of the Tournament at the Interprovincial Sevens and Border won that as well."

This time, there was a call from Stellenbosch: "I made the team (Springbok Women’s Sevens) that went to Dubai at the end of that year and I was offered a contract for 2017, that’s when I became a professional rugby player, the dream or the goal I always had ever since rugby got a little bit more serious for me."
Mpupha soon established herself in the team, not only as playmaker, but as a leader as well and it was no surprise when Springbok Women’s Sevens coach Paul Delport named her captain in 2018. She took the reign at the Commonwealth Games in April and the Rugby Sevens World Cup in July last year.

Her fifteen’s exploits was not forgotten either and due to an excellent working relationship between Delport and Springbok Women’s coach, Stanley Raubenheimer, Mpupha found herself on the plane again as the national women’s fifteens team undertook a tour to Europe in November where she proved to be a standout.
There is much to play for in 2019, says Mpupha, now back with the Springbok Women’s Sevens.

“We are hoping to qualify for the Olympic Games in Japan next year. For that we need to qualify and our focus are gearing towards that. Before that qualifier, we are travelling to Spain in May to play in some tournaments to prepare, so we have so much to be grateful for,” said Mpupha.

"In this game I have learnt a lot besides being on the field. The different people, different cultures and backgrounds of the same team, knowing how to interact with one another, that is valuable life lessons. The fact that it’s growing every day, the challenges it brings to us as players, makes it very rewarding."
That first try might have been the start, but Mpupha is also known as a fierce defender.

"The physicality required by the game demands that," she smiles.
"I am the probably the softest, jumpy person you could ever meet but the minute I put my feet into the four lines, you get the totally different person."

That might be, but one thing will never change, that was probably the best R50 ever spent in rugby!