NAGOYA, 23 Sep - The Springboks' defeat by New Zealand on Saturday damaged personnel as well as pride.
Tight-head prop Trevor Nyakane, pictured, has been forced to withdraw from the South Africa squad after sustaining a calf injury in the 23-13 loss in Yokohama.
Coach Rassie Erasmus announced on Monday that the Bulls No.3 will be replaced in the 31-man group by versatile prop Thomas du Toit.
The usually smiling Nyakane – who came on as a substitute for Frans Malherbe in the 55th minute – grimaced in pain as he hobbled off the pitch with the assistance of a team official with just a few minutes left in the match.
During his time on the field he made an immediate impact in shoring up the scrum against the All Blacks, and usually makes a major contribution in the tight phases and around the field.
“It’s very tough on Trevor,” said Erasmus. “He has had a great season and added value whenever he took the field.
“It’s a blow to him and the team, but it’s also an opportunity for Thomas and for Vincent (Koch), who now have the chance to step up.”
A former U20 representative for his country, Du Toit is – just like Nyakane – able to play on both sides of the scrum. The 24-year-old from Cape Town, who recently joined French club Toulouse on a short-term contract, has earned 10 test caps since 2018, weighs in at 136kg and is 1.90m tall.
Du Toit will join the Springbok squad in Nagoya on Tuesday.
With Malherbe the first-choice No.3, Koch is likely to move on to the bench in Nyakane’s place for the Boks’ second Pool B match against Namibia at the City of Toyota Stadium on Saturday.