Springboks’ star centre Lukhanyo Am replaces injured Makazole Mapimpi at World Cup

Springboks’ centre Lukhanyo Am runs with the ball against Argentina.

Springboks’ centre Lukhanyo Am is set to join the Springboks at the Rugby World Cup in France. Picture: Juan Mabromata/ AFP

Published Oct 2, 2023


Star Springboks’ centre Lukhanyo Am will replace the injured Makazole Mapimpi at the Rugby World Cup.

The official X account of the Rugby World Cup posted a picture with the caption “AM IS BACK”, saying the midfielder will replace Mapimpi, who sustained a a fracture to his face following the Springboks’ bruising encounter against Tonga.

Am missed out on the original Springboks’ World Cup squad after sustaining a knee injury in a Test against Argentina. But he was put on a standby list with the likes of Handre Pollard.

Now both Am and Pollard are back in the squad after the flyhalf previously replaced Malcolm Marx following the hooker’s World Cup-ending knee injury.

Before Am’s injury, he wasn’t quite at his best, as he was also making his way back from a different knee injury. But, when in form, Am is arguably the best outside centre on the planet and a huge player for the Springboks.

On attack, he has beautiful hands and feet, with his ability to find those gaps, and also assist the speedsters on the outside with great passing.

On defence, he is key to the Springboks’ rush, as he is a superb reader of the game and a guy who snuffs out attacks before they get going.

However, he hasn’t played much rugby for a couple of months and it will be interesting to see how his match fitness will affect the coaches’ thinking going forward.

The Springboks again resisted the temptation of getting a specialist hooker, with the team happy to move on with the retreaded Deon Fourie, who was the Man of the Match against Tonga, and Marco van Staden as back up to Bongi Mbonambi.


IOL Sport