Springboks’ preparations for the daunting clash against New Zealand at Wespec Stadium on Saturday have been rocked by the withdrawal of Makazole Mapimpi due to a knee injury.
Mapimpi was replaced early in the defeat to Australia in Brisbane on Saturday by debutant Cheslin Kolbe and coach Rassie Erasmus confirmed on Monday that the right winger is on his way home.
Mapimpi will not be replaced.
“His injury is worse than the previous time when he got an injury‚ so he is flying back home today (Monday) to get scans and stuff like that‚" Erasmus said in Wellington on Monday.
"We are not going to call a replacement because we have a few options in the form of Kolbe‚ Jesse Kriel‚ Willie Le Roux and Damian de Allende.”
Erasmus explained that it would not make sense to fly a replacement from South Africa or anywhere else in the world just to come in and be part of two training sessions before a huge match against the All Blacks.
“I thought we would rather use cover from within the squad with someone who is familiar with what we are trying to do‚" he said.
"I don’t think it is worth flying someone straight in to arrive here on Wednesday and have one or two training sessions before a big match like this.”
Mapimpi scored the Boks’ second try last weekend and his unavailability means Erasmus will have to tweak things around in the back three.
The player will miss out on a priceless opportunity to gain valuable experience against the best team in the world.
“I said last week that playing against Australia away from home‚ players like Mapimpi and Aphiwe Dyantyi will benefit from the experience of getting a crunch game under their belt‚” said Erasmus.
“Mapimpi has three caps.
"I guess the guy we are going to pick is likely to have a little bit more of the same number of caps.
"The plan has always been to get guys in games against Australia and New Zealand away from home so that they can pick up experience.
"It is daunting against the best team in the world because we are now two losses on the trot and this is not great.
"But it is a chance to see how they handle pressure.”