Springbok assistant coach Felix Jones says centre Lukhanyo Am is in contention to play in the Rugby World Cup quarter-finals should they qualify.
Springbok assistant coach Felix Jones said on Wednesday centre Lukhanyo Am is in contention to play in the Rugby World Cup quarter-finals should they qualify.
Am, 29, was called up to the defending champions’ squad on Monday, replacing injured winger Makazole Mapimpi, in time for the last-eight fixtures scheduled for October 14-15.
The Springboks do not play this weekend, with Ireland and Scotland meeting in Paris on Saturday which could end with the Springboks being eliminated.
For the champions to fail to reach the last eight, Scotland have to beat world number one side Ireland by a margin of 21 or more with both sides needing to claim a bonus point.
— Springboks (@Springboks) October 4, 2023
“He’ll (Am) be considered just as much as anyone else and we’ll base a lot of it on what happens in training and also consider what’s gone on in the games prior to this,” Jones told reporters.
“We’ll see how he rocks up and how he performs in training over the next two weeks,” he added.
Am made the last of his 35 Test appearances in August, when he suffered a knee injury and was left out of their squad for the World Cup.
The Sharks midfielder played all but one of their games on the way to lifting the Webb Ellis trophy four years ago.
“Luckily for us Lukhanyo is quite an experienced player and has been a part of the group for many years now,” Jones said.
“I think probably everyone will agree that when Lukhanyo is at his best he can slot into almost any team.
“Lukhanyo was actually involved in all of our alignment camps, all of our training sessions, up to the point of us pretty much leaving for the World Cup, or the week or two before.
“He’ll be fully up to speed with how things are going here,” he added.
For the champions to fail to reach the last eight, Scotland will have to beat world number one side Ireland by a margin of 21 or more with both sides in Paris needing to claim a bonus point.
Gregor Townsend’s side have failed to beat the Irish by more than 21 points since 2001 and have lost their last eight Tests against Saturday’s opponents.
However, the Scots have bounced back after an opening defeat to the Springboks, hammering Tonga and Romania.
“We just want to get through ourselves,” ex-Ireland full-back Jones said.
“You would probably say that it looks like Ireland would be the favourites.
“Scotland are in fantastic form. I think it’s going to be a really tight game.”