Springboks dump black player for missing flights

Trevor Nyakane
Trevor Nyakane

by David Legge

Prop Trevor Nyakane has been dumped from the South Africa squad for missing flights and a video session, the national rugby union announced Sunday.

A statement said the 24-year-old forward would miss the trip to Argentina for a Rugby Championship match on August 24 because of “repeated breaches of team protocol”.

And a tweet from the official Springbok rugby account shed greater light: “No great scandal folks. Breach of protocol in Trevor’s case means missing flights and video session.”

Nyakane was among 30 players chosen for home and away Tests against the Pumas at the start of the annual southern hemisphere rugby championship that includes title-holders New Zealand and Australia.

But the prop from Bloemfontein-based Super 15 outfit the Cheetahs did not make the matchday 23 in the 73-13 rout of Argentina at Soccer City stadium in Soweto this weekend.

The 118-kilogram forward rose to prominence as an second-half impact player for his province and won his first Springboks cap against Italy last June as a replacement.

Nyakane also came off the bench against Scotland and Samoa in other four-nation tournament games and is considered a long-term challenger to tighthead incumbent Jannie du Plessis.

Coach Heyenke Meyer has replaced Nyakane with uncapped Lourens Adriaanse in his 26-man touring squad while Piet van Zyl takes the place of unavailable scrum-half Fourie du Preez.

Japan-based Du Preez, who came off the bench this weekend after a two-season absence, has been freed by Suntory Sungoliath only for the three South African home fixtures in the Championship..

Nyakane, injured hooker Chiliboy Ralepelle, full-back Zane Kirchner, centre Juan de Jongh, Du Preez and lock Franco van der Merwe drop out of the original 30-strong squad.

“We are allowed to travel with only 26 players and it was difficult to leave out a few of our squad members,” Meyer admitted before the Springboks flew to South America Sunday.

“The players that stay behind will benefit from game time in the Currie Cup and will certainly be in the selection frame when we select the squad for Australia and New Zealand.”

Despite the 60-point triumph against the Pumas, South Africa will be wary of facing them in western city Mendoza, where they snatched an undeserved 16-16 draw last season.

Squad

Backs: Bjorn Basson, JJ Engelbrecht, Bryan Habana, Patrick Lambie, Ruan Pienaar, Willie le Roux, Jan Serfontein, Morne Steyn, Jano Vermaak, Jean de Villiers (capt), Piet van Zyl

Forwards: Lourens Adriaanse, Willem Alberts, Marcell Coetzee, Eben Etzebeth, Siya Kolisi, Juandre Kruger, Francois Louw, Flip van der Merwe, Tendai Mtawarira, Coenie Oosthuizen, Bismarck du Plessis, Jannie du Plessis, Gurthro Steenkamp, Adriaan Strauss, Duane Vermeulen – Sapa