Springbok wing Makazole Mapimpi has returned to South Africa after he sustained a knee injury in the Castle Lager Rugby Championship match against the Wallabies in Brisbane. No replacement will be added to the South African squad.
Mapimpi was withdrawn from action just before halftime at the Suncorp Stadium on Saturday and replaced by Cheslin Kolbe, who earned his debut Test cap for the Springboks.
The injured player arrives in South Africa on Tuesday and will undergo a specialist review of his injured right knee. Apart from Mapimpi, there are no other Springbok injury concerns.
“We have a squad of 30 players here in Wellington and we’re not going to call up a replacement. Makazole flew back today (Monday) and if we call up someone in his place, he will only arrive here on Wednesday and have one training session with us,” explained Rassie Erasmus, SA Rugby’s Director of Rugby, at the Springboks’ arrival media conference.
The injury withdrawal of Mapimpi has however forced Erasmus to relook at his back-three options for Saturday’s clash with the world’s top ranked team.
“We have Cheslin Kolbe with us who played a full second half last Saturday on the wing, but we have some other options as well such as Jesse Kriel and even Lukhanyo Am, who has played some rugby out on the wing,” added Erasmus.
“We will try and pick the most experienced side for this match, with the least amount of changes.”
Meanwhile, the Springboks kicked off their week’s preparations on Monday with a lively late afternoon training at Porirua Park, their training base for rest of the week.
Tuesday is another full training day, followed by a non-training day on Wednesday, while Erasmus will announce his Springbok match-23 at lunchtime on Thursday.