Springbok forwards coach Deon Davids has paid tribute to prop Trevor Nyakane after his excellent performances at both loosehead and tighthead during the 2-1 Lions series victory.
Nyakane started the first Test against the British & Irish Lions at tighthead prop, but was shifted to the bench and had to cover loosehead when Ox Nche suffered a neck injury that kept him out of the rest of the series.
Despite having last played at loosehead in 2017, Nyakane excelled and played a crucial role off the bench as the Boks came from behind in the second and third Tests to secure a series victory.
He notably made the game very difficult for Lions tighthead Kyle Sinckler, helping the Springboks win a scrum penalty when the hosts were under pressure on their own tryline at a decisive stage in the third Test.
“Trevor Nyakane, for me, is a champion,” Davids said during Monday’s media conference.
“Whatever task is given to him, he always does it with the right attitude, and he always gives 100%, as his performances at tighthead and loosehead have shown.
“Having a player with those assets in a team broadens your depth and gives you much more options.
“We’re very happy with what he achieved and how he assists other players around him.
“Also having a player like Ox Nche, together with Nyakane and Steven Kitshoff, it’s an exciting prospect going forward.”
The Springboks have had to quickly focus on the Rugby Championship as they face two games against Argentina, starting this Saturday in Gqeberha.
However, they will be boosted by the availability of Nche, as Davids confirmed the Sharks player was back in contention.
Davids added that other injury concerns – flank Pieter-Steph du Toit, scrumhalf Faf de Klerk and No 8 Duane Vermeulen – were all undergoing their regular medical assessments on Monday.
“Nche is training and will definitely be considered for this upcoming game,” Davids said.
“We are waiting for medical assessments, and we are considering those players, and we will make the decision to select them once they have completed the assessment.”