TOKYO, 15 Sep - It has been a life-changing few weeks for Trevor Nyakane. Not only was he included in South Africa’s Rugby World Cup 2019 squad, he also became a father for the first time.
On 11 September, Nyakane’s wife Gavaza gave birth to daughter Thando. The Springbok prop flashed his bright smile when speaking about his baby after training in Tokyo on Sunday.
That was despite enduring humid conditions as he continued his recovery from a knee injury ahead of the Springboks' tournament opener against New Zealand at the International Stadium Yokohama on Saturday, 21 September.
"It’s something I can’t really explain. It’s something one has to witness, and to realise that you’ve brought someone into this world - it’s really amazing," Nyakane, above, said. "I can’t believe that someone I’ve only met two, three days ago, I can miss this much.
"It’s awesome being a dad, and I can’t wait to go back to her. I told my wife that usually I enjoy travelling. Now, when I was about to leave, I couldn’t let go of my daughter."
The next major event in Nyakane’s life is on Saturday, when South Africa and New Zealand face each other in one of the key Pool B games.
The 30-year-old front-row is confident he can shake off the knee injury that caused him to leave the field during the second half of South Africa's 41-7 victory over Japan in Kumagaya on 6 September.
Nyakane, who has 41 test caps, did some training last week in South Africa ahead of the match against the All Blacks on Saturday, and said his recovery is on schedule.
He made a dramatic impact alongside Tendai Mtawarira and Bongi Mbonambi in the second-half scrums against New Zealand in Wellington in July, helping the South Africans secure a 16-16 draw.
Now, the man from Limpopo province is eager to take on the champions on Saturday.
"If you want to win this trophy or tournament, you’ve got to beat the best teams. So whether you play (New Zealand) first or whenever, it doesn’t really matter.
"You’ve got to be ready for each and every game, and treat every game like it’s a final, because you might get knocked out at any time.
"Yes, it is the All Blacks and everybody is hyping it up, but we are just going to go through our processes, go through the work, and prepare as well as we can."