As one of six forwards on the bench for the clash between the Springboks and Wales in Pretoria on Saturday, Kwagga Smith says he would be up for offering extra cover in the backline if needed.
Jacques Nienaber has opted for a six-two split between backs and forwards on the bench in the match-day 23 for the first of three Tests against Wales.
There are just two backline replacements: scrumhalf Herschel Jantjies and fullback Willie le Roux, who can also cover flyhalf and wing.
However, if the worst does happen and the Springboks suffer a number of injuries in the first Test at Loftus Versfeld, sevens convert Smith, who regularly plays at loose forward, said he would be eager to jump in and mix it with the backs.
“I played sevens for a lot of tournaments and there was a lot of space to cover there as well. It is the last resort but I am really keen for that challenge,” Smith said.
“I made my Currie Cup debut [for the Lions ] on wing,” he added. “If that challenge comes, then I will step up to it … I will give my everything and try my best to contribute to the team.”
Wales are expected to name an experienced back row for the first Test, with Taulupe Faletau joined by flanks Josh Navidi and Dan Lydiate.
“The Welsh team have good loose forwards and they are strong at poaching turnovers, so it is going to be a big battle at the breakdowns. It will be a good challenge for us to measure ourselves against them.”
Smith is joined on the bench as loose-forward cover by 24-year-old debutant Elrigh Louw, who will be running out for the first time in the green and gold if he gets on to the field.
“A few years back, in 2018, I made my debut, and I know how much pressure I put on myself before that game,” Smith said.
“I have tried to keep Elrigh very calm this week, and I told him that the game is going to go by really, really fast. When you close your eyes and then open them, the match will have passed.
“Elrigh must just go out and express himself and play like he did at the Bulls – just do what he does. He mustn’t worry about too many other things because it goes by so quickly,” he said. “He’s a really good player, and I’m happy for him getting his debut this weekend.”
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