Cape Town – Trevor Nyakane has quietly gone about notching up 28 Tests for the Springboks since 2013, and if national coach Allister Coetzee’s words on Thursday were anything to go by, he will earn a lot more before he is done.
Nyakane (28) has been named on the bench for the Boks’ Rugby Championship opener against Argentina in Port Elizabeth on Saturday having been left out of the the three-match Test series against France back in June.
Back then, when Coetzee was backing Frans Malherbe at tighthead with Coenioe Oosthuizen as his replacement, Nyakane was battling to get into the right physical shape for Test match rugby.
Coetzee also backed Ruan Dreyer in the third Test against France, but now that he has lost Malherbe to a neck injury, he has elevated Oosthuizen to the starting line-up and brought Nyakane back into the mix.
According to the coach, Nyakane was never off the radar.
“Trevor was always in our plans, but in international rugby there are very high standards when it comes to fitness and conditioning and he wasn’t there in June,” Coetzee revealed on Thursday.
“He has worked extremely hard, has lost a lot of weight and is looking good.”
Coetzee may already be looking ahead to his side’s trips to Australia and New Zealand in going back to Nyakane.
Used on both sides of the scrums for the Bulls in Super Rugby this year, Nyakane’s versatility is going a long way towards making him an attractive option for Coetzee.
“Trevor is an important player for us. When you go on tour, you a can only have 28 guys,” Coetzee explained.
“So instead of taking six props – three looseheads and three tightheads – you can only take five. That is why you use what we call a ‘swinger’, and that is where Trevor is so important.”
Oosthuizen, meanwhile, will earn his 27th Test cap this weekend in what will be just his fifth start.
“The Argentinians pride themselves on their scrummaging ability,” Coetzee said.
“Coenie has come along in leaps and bounds and really has played well.
“Coenie knows he has a role to play. It’s not just about running and carrying but to make sure that our set piece works well.”
Kick-off on Saturday is at 17:05.
15 Andries Coetzee, 14 Raymond Rhule, 13 Jesse Kriel, 12 Jan Serfontein, 11 Courtnall Skosan, 10 Elton Jantjies, 9 Ross Cronjé, 8 Uzair Cassiem, 7 Jaco Kriel, 6 Siya Kolisi, 5 Franco Mostert, 4 Eben Etzebeth (captain), 3 Coenie Oosthuizen, 2 Malcolm Marx, 1 Beast Mtawarira
Substitutes: 16 Bongi Mbonambi, 17 Steven Kitshoff, 18 Trevor Nyakane, 19 Pieter-Steph Du Toit, 20 Jean-Luc du Preez, 21 Francois Hougaard, 22 Curwin Bosch, 23 Damian de Allende
15 Joaquin Tuculet, 14 Ramiro Moyano, 13 Matias Orlando, 12 Jeronimo de la Fuente, 11 Emiliano Boffelli; 10 Nicolas Sanchez, 9 Martin Landajo, 8 Leonardo Senatore, 7 Tomas Lezana, 6 Pablo Matera, 5 Tomas Lavanini, 4 Guido Petti, 3 Enrique Pieretto, 2 Agustin Creevy (captain), 1 Nahuel Tetaz Chaparro
Substitutes: 16 Julian Montoya, 17 Lucas Noguera, 18 Ramiro Herrera, 19 Marcos Kremer, 20 Javier Ortega Desio, 21 Tomas Cubelli, 22 Juan Martin Hernandez, 23 Matias Moroni