The Springboks have pencilled Trevor Nyakane’s name in for the squad that will play their opening World Cup match against the All Blacks
However, Nyakane, after suffering a knee injury, still has to prove his fitness during training before his name is included in the starting line-up.
“His knee looks okay, but we want to see him run first,” said Springbok coach Rassie Erasmus this week.
The uncertainty about Nyakane’s injury came about because he flew directly home after the test against Japan last week. The Bok team could begin treating him only yesterday.
Nyakane flew to Tokyo’s Narita International Airport via Hong Kong on Friday night to rejoin the team – a flight that took about 23 hours.
But some good came from Nyakane’s injury – he returned to South Africa and saw his daughter for the first time. She was born last week.
If Nyakane is declared fit, it is expected that Erasmus will not alter the 23-man starting squad that defeated Japan 41-7 last week.
It is, however, possible that he could consider moves within the squad.
Nyakane played against Japan in Koemagaja for 14 minutes as Frans Malherbe’s replacement, before leaving the field because of the knee injury. Malherbe finished the match.
Nyakane, Malherbe and Vincent Koch are the Bok tight heads in the World Cup group.
Koch will be used in the event that Nyakane needs a longer period to recover from the injury.
The Springboks will, however, be hopeful that Nyakane’s knee injury is something that’s behind him, considering the fact that he has been in great form lately.
His exceptional play is ascribed to, among other things, the fact that he is one of the only South African players to have played in all his team’s Super Rugby matches.
After his arrival in Japan, Nyakane appeared to be walking around without any discomfort.
He will be positive about his chances, as the Bok squad had earlier indicated that his injury would not mean the end of his participation in the tournament.
Meanwhile, Erasmus has indicated that he is satisfied with his team’s preparation for the opening match against the All Blacks.
“One may have wanted the team to have played together longer and for there to have been fewer experiments in the past six or seven tests,” he said.
“Unfortunately, this is the situation we find ourselves in. As we had only 18 tests from last year, we were compelled to conduct those experiments.
“But I reckon that everything within our control has been done in respect of our preparation. I believe other countries will be just as well prepared.
“We have managed to achieve consistency with the team that played in the away game in Wellington against the All Blacks, and now here in Japan. But we did have to conduct the experiments to make sure we were taking the best team to the World Cup.
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