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A big groan reverberated around the Yokohama International Stadium. On the big screen, we saw the sight of big Trevor Nyakane limping off, supported by a member of the Springbok medical team. The action continued on the field and for most of the 63,000 in the stadium the dramatic moment was lost in the heat of the moment. But when Nyakame’s stooped, hobbling figure appeared on the screens around the stadium, the sympathy from the crowd was immediate. This looked serious. This looked tragic. Later at the post-match news conference, coach Rassie Erasmus indicated that the big man’s tournament might be over. The news that Trevor’s calf injury has shattered his dream will come as a huge blow to the squad. Not only is Nyakane an important person as the top tighthead prop in the country, but he’s also the joker of the team, the person who keeps everyone laughing. His contribution as a player and his huge personality will be missed. But now Thomas the Tank gets a belated opportunity to make his mark. – David O’Sullivan
Thomas du Toit was en route from France to Nagoya, Japan, on Monday after being called up as an injury replacement to the Springbok Rugby World Cup squad.
The 24-year old Cell C Sharks prop replaces the unfortunate Trevor Nyakane who tore his right calf in the 23-13 defeat by New Zealand in Yokohama on Saturday night.
Du Toit, who was on a short-term loan to Toulouse, was on standby and had been involved in preparations right up until the team’s departure for Japan.
He is expected to join the squad in Nagoya on Tuesday afternoon.
“It’s very tough on Trevor,” said Rassie Erasmus, director of rugby. “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.”
The Springboks continue their Rugby World Cup campaign against neighbours Namibia in Nagoya on Saturday (kick off 11h45 SA time).
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