The centre missed out initially through injury but will fly to France ahead of the quarter-finals
Makazole Mapimpi’s injury against Tonga has seen South Africa call up Lukhanyo Am to their Rugby World Cup squad.
Centre Am joins the South Africa Rugby World Cup squad in place of his 2019 World Cup-winning colleague after the wing suffered a fractured eye socket and cheekbone in the 49-18 win over Tonga on Sunday night.
South Africa call up Lukhanyo Am
The Springboks are not guaranteed a quarter-final spot but Scotland must score four tries and beat Ireland by more than 20 points, and Ireland must also get a bonus point to knock the reigning champions out of the tournament in France.
Am is the second player to be called up from the Springboks’ list of standby players after fly-half Handre Pollard joined the ranks following the injury to hooker Malcolm Marx.
Rassie Erasmus and Jacques Nienaber could have chosen to bolster their options at No 2, with flanker Marco van Staden the current third-choice, but instead chose to return to Am, who undoubtedly would have made the initial 33-man group if it wasn’t for the twisted knee he suffered against Argentina in the Rugby Championship.
Erasmus said: “It’s sad that something like that happened. It was an accident. He has a fractured eye socket, a blow-out fracture. His eye is swollen and the cheekbone is also fractured I think. I think he’s out for four to six weeks.
“We will not just miss him as a brilliant rugby player but what he brings to the team. There is a lot of heart, a lot of honesty. He doesn’t say a lot but when he says something everybody listens. He trains hard, communicates beautifully on the field whilst he is really quiet off the field. He never moans if he is not selected and helps the young boys who get selected.
“If we get to the final we will definitely fly him back to join the rest of us here. The same with the other guys who got injuries and went back to South Africa. It’s sad but that’s the game of rugby. Those collisions happen.”