In a thrilling turn of events, Lukhanyo Am has rejoined the South African squad as an injury replacement, just in time for a potential Rugby World Cup quarter-final next weekend. The outside centre, who played a pivotal role in the Springboks’ victory in the 2019 World Cup final, expressed his excitement to be back on the field after being forced to watch from the sidelines.
Am’s return comes as wing Makazole Mapimpi was ruled out of the remainder of the tournament due to a facial fracture sustained in the team’s recent triumph over Tonga. Ironically, it was Am who assisted Mapimpi’s try in the 2019 final, and now he finds himself in a similar situation, albeit under less joyous circumstances.
While Am is eager to contribute to the team’s success, his appearance in the upcoming match is not guaranteed, as South Africa has not yet secured a spot in the quarter-finals. Their progression depends on the outcome of the Scotland vs. Ireland match, with South Africa advancing unless Scotland secures a victory over Ireland by 21 points or more, with both teams earning a bonus point.
Reflecting on his return, Am expressed his gratitude, saying, “It’s a good feeling to be back.” He acknowledged the frustration of having to watch the previous World Cup from home and described it as “something you love taken away from you.” Despite missing out on the original squad due to a knee injury, Am diligently focused on maintaining his fitness levels and staying prepared for a potential call-up.
However, Am’s lack of recent game-time raises concerns about his readiness for a high-stakes World Cup knockout game. The last time he played was in South Africa’s victory against Argentina on August 5. Nevertheless, Am remains confident in his abilities and highlighted the importance of mental preparation. He assured fans and the team that he is fit to play and ready to contribute if called upon.
As South Africa awaits their quarter-final fate, Am understands the responsibility that comes with his potential return to the pitch. He aims to swiftly regain his rhythm and seamlessly integrate into the team, should he be given the opportunity.
The Springboks’ supporters eagerly await the outcome of the crucial Scotland vs. Ireland encounter, hoping for a positive result that will allow Am and the team to continue their journey in the tournament.