Lukhanyo Am, a member of the Springboks’ 2019 Rugby World Cup winning team, has been called into the 2023 squad as an injury replacement for wing Makazole Mapimpi who suffered a fractured cheekbone in Sunday’s 49-18 victory over Tonga.
Mapimpi is expected to be out of action for four to six weeks.
Am will join the squad in Toulon this week, having returned to training on his rehabilitation from a knee injury suffered in the 24-13 victory win over Argentina in Buenos Aires on 5 August.
The 29-year-old centre missed out on squad selection because of the injury having appeared in the first four matches of the season as he recovered from a knee injury suffered in 2022.
He is the second injury replacement to the 33-man squad following the call-up of flyhalf Handre Pollard for hooker Malcolm Marx. Pollard made a successful return to the team against Tonga.
Erasmus reported that wing Mapimpi would return home after suffering a tournament-ending injury in the match. He also revealed that the two will be flown back if the sides get to final.
“We are sad for Mapimpi,” said Erasmus. “He fractured his eye socket and cheek bone, so he’ll be out for four to six weeks. We’ll miss him as a player and what he brings to the team off the field. But if we get to the final, we’ll fly him and Malcolm Marx back.”
The team will receive a well-deserved break on Monday and Tuesday to rest and recover from the pool stages of the competition and will resume their rugby programme on Wednesday.