Thomas du Toit is set to arrive in Japan tomorrow. Photo: Christiaan Kotze/BackpagePix

NAGOYA – Thomas du Toit will arrive in Japan on Tuesday and will have no trouble slotting into the Springboks’ Rugby World Cup set-up, said forwards coach Matt Proudfoot on Monday.

The 130kg Cell C Sharks prop has been called into the squad to replace Trevor Nyakane, who tore a calf muscle in Saturday’s Pool B opener against New Zealand.

Du Toit has kept in shape on a short-term loan to Cheslin Kolbe’s French club, Toulouse, and was on South Africa’s standby list.

“Thomas is someone who has been with us for a period of time in the build-up,” said Proudfoot.

“He can play both sides [of the scrum], which was important in our decision. Trevor fulfilled that role for us, so it was important to have someone who could play both sides.

“Thomas’ evolution to be able to play both roles is quite well developed and we have a lot of trust and faith that he will bring his own skillsets to the game.

“He is a very good ball carrier and he is good over the ball. He is a good defender and brings lots of energy. He is powerful on the loosehead side and very strong on the tighthead side, so we’ve got great cover in for Trevor.”

The Springboks play Namibia at the City of Toyota Stadium on Saturday, with Du Toit likely to come into selection reckoning as the fifth prop in the squad (behind Frans Malherbe and Vincent Koch on the tighthead side, and Steven Kitshoff and Tendai Mtawarira on the loosehead).

“Thomas spent the whole build-up with us. He would probably have played the first game against New Zealand if it hadn’t been for a spot of tick bite fever,” said Proudfoot.

“We’re comfortable with the knowledge he has and we’ll be glad to welcome him back.

“I feel for Trevor, but we’ll welcome Thomas. We trust him – he is a big man with a big engine, so he will be a good asset as well.”

Proudfoot spared more than a thought for Nyakane: “Trevor has had a tremendous season. He has worked incredibly hard; he has made the transition into a seriously competitive international tighthead and he is a great guy in the group.

“It’s really sad for him. He is a guy who is going to be missed. We wish him well. He has been given instructions to get himself right and who knows what can happen down the track.”

African News Agency (ANA)