The departing Trevor Nyakane will be missed but the Springboks have a fine swing-prop alternative in Thomas du Toit. JON CARDINELLI in Nagoya reports.
Nyakane sustained a serious calf injury in the match against the All Blacks in Yokohama on Saturday. On Monday, it was confirmed that the versatile prop – who can play both loosehead and tighthead – will be leaving Japan.
‘It’s really sad for Trevor,’ Bok forwards coach Matt Proudfoot said. ‘He’s had a tremendous season and has worked incredibly hard to make the transition into a serious international tighthead.
‘He’s a great guy in the group who will be missed. We’ve given him instructions to go home and work at that [the injury] because who knows what the competition will bring.’
Hooker Bongi Mbonambi said that it was tough to say goodbye to his best mate.
‘We couldn’t really say much of a goodbye to each other because he had to go and pack,’ Mbonambi said.
‘He’s worked very hard to earn the respect that every one gives him and has earned the right to be here. He’s going to be missed by the whole team. He’s the kind of guy who will walk into a serious meeting with a bright smile that light up the whole room.
‘I’m going to miss him as a teammate and as a roommate. But it’s part of the sport. We’ve got a World Cup to focus on and that will continue.’
It remains to be seen whether Nyakane will recover over the next six weeks or whether another prop will break down later in the tournament. For now, Du Toit will be tasked with that swing-prop role.
‘Thomas was with the squad for a period of time in the buildup to the World Cup,’ said Proudfoot. ‘His ability to play on both sides of the scrum factored into our decision to call him up now.
‘His evolution in that role is quite well developed. We have faith that he will bring his own skill set to the team.
‘So we’ve got great cover coming in for Trevor.’
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