By Lucky Maree
The announcement that Lukhanyo Am will join the Springbok camp in France is no surprise.
South Africa already has a number of outstanding centres in the team like Andre Esterhuizen, Damian de Allende and Jesse Kriel, as well as Canan Moodie, but Am is the stand-out option for the Springboks.
Am has all the skills required of an international centre and then some, but in the 2019 World Cup, he emerged as the general in the midfield.
On Monday Rassie Erasmus said in a media briefing that they could not reveal who had been called up to replace Makazole Mapimpi before World Rugby had approved the replacement. Hours later, Lukhanyo Am was announced as the replacement.
Am, who was an obvious choice for selection in the Springbok squad for the 2023 World Cup, lost out on selection after being injured in the Rugby Championship match against Argentina on 5 August.
The 29-year-old centre is the second injury replacement in the squad after flyhalf Handre Pollard was called up to replace hooker Malcolm Marx.
Mapimpi suffered a blow-out fracture to his cheekbone in a collision with Augustine Pulu in the match against Tonga last weekend. It was soon clear that he would not recover in time.
“As we do with all injured players, if we get to the final we will bring him back to watch the match with us in Paris,” Rassie Erasmus told the media.
Pictured above: Lukhanyo Am and Makazole Mapimpi
Image source: Springboks