Trevor Nyakane had to leave the World Cup due to injury. Photo: Samuel Shivambu/BackpagePix

NAGOYA – When Trevor Nyakane hobbled off the International Stadium Yokohama pitch on Saturday night, he probably knew his World Cup was over.

Having made a positive impact on the South Africa pack when he came on in the second half against New Zealand, the Bulls man will have felt devastated.

He had worked hard to recover from a minor injury before the tournament, and then experienced the joy of the birth of his first child, daughter Thando, back in South Africa.

Nyakane jetted back to Japan to take his place among the replacements against the All Blacks, but he will return home after sustaining a torn right calf muscle in the 23-13 defeat.

He has been replaced by Thomas du Toit, who is scheduled to join the Springbok squad in Nagoya on Tuesday.

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South Africa assistant coach Matthew Proudfoot said on Monday that it was “really sad for Trevor".

"I think he’s had a tremendous season," he said. "He has worked incredibly hard. He has quite comfortably made his transition into a serious international tight-head.”

The man who is going to miss Nyakane the most, though, is hooker Bongi Mbonambi. The pair have built up an impressive alliance in the front row in 2019, whether as starters or off the bench.

It was not an easy farewell in Nagoya on Monday.

"We couldn’t say bye to each other as I had media and he had to pack. I was going to help him pack," Mbonambi said.

"It happens, part of the sport. Trevor has really worked hard to be where he is, and to have the respect everyone gives him.

"He is going to be missed, not only by me, but the whole team. He is the kind of guy who brings a different vibe whenever he walks in.

"It can be a serious meeting, and Trevor walks in and gives his bright smile and brightens up the whole room. I will miss him as a team-mate and a room-mate." 

African News Agency (ANA)