VIDEO: No game time, no problem for Am
Lukhanyo Am rejoined the Springboks at their training base in Toulon on Wednesday, following his recall to the national team.
Am joined the squad, having completed his rehabilitation from a knee injury suffered in the 24-13 World Cup warm-up victory win over Argentina in Buenos Aires on August 5.
He replaces injured wing Makazole Mapimpi in the 33-man squad.
Mapimpi has been ruled out of the global showpiece after fracturing his ‘cheekbone’ in the 49-18 Pool B match against Tonga this past Sunday.
The Boks earlier also called up flyhalf Handre Pollard to replace hooker Malcolm Marx, who suffered a freak knee injury in training at their Toulon base last month.
Springbok attack coach Felix Jones confirmed Am will come into the selection frame for a potential quarterfinal next week – against either hosts France or Pool A runners-up New Zealand next weekend – despite not having played in two months.
“We will see how he performs at training,” Jones told a media briefing at the Toulon club’s Stade Campus.
He added that they have been in contact with the Sharks media team to monitor Am’s progress during his ‘gradual return to training’.
(WATCH as Springbok attack coach Felix Jones explains how recalled centre Lukhanyo Am will fit into the national team set-up despite having had no game time for just over two months…)
“Am has been tracking very well,” Jones said.
However, Am has had no game time since the injury back in the beginning of August.
Jones said they will bank on Am’s experience and what he already knows of the Bok set-up, rather than be concerned about his lack of game time in the last two months.
“He has been part of the group[ for many years now,” the attack coach said, adding: “When Lukhanyo is at his best he can start in almost any team.
“He will be in the frame for the outside centre position.
“We will base our decision on what happens in training.”
He confirmed there were some bruised and battered bodies in the camp, after the physical encounter with the willing Tongan team.
“I have not seen a game with that many guys sporting shiners or cuts,” Jones said.
Am, 29, has 35 Tests worth of experience to his credit since his debut against Wales in Cardiff in December 2017.