Cape Town – The Springboks’ depth is a major asset for the team at the Rugby World Cup in Japan.
This view was shared by front-rankers Vincent Koch and Tendai “Beast” Mtawarira on Wednesday as they addressed reporters in Nagoya.
Both players will start in the Pool B clash against Namibia on Saturday, with Koch getting a chance in place of the injured Trevor Nyakane who was ruled out of the World Cup following a right calf injury sustained in the 23-13 loss to New Zealand.
Thomas du Toit is on the bench, having joined the Springbok squad as a replacement for Nyakane.
Koch, who boasts 15 Tests and last featured in the 24-18 win over Argentina in Pretoria last month, said he felt for Nyakane.
“He’s had an unbelievable season and has done really well for the Springboks. But on the other hand it gives me a chance,” Koch said.
The Saracens tighthead added that each player in the squad knew what was expected of him
“We’ve been working really hard as a group… we’ve got a lot of depth as well, so it’s very easy for me to step into the team. We’ve worked really hard and each player is ready when the call-up comes.”
Mtawarira added: “We’re definitely going to miss Trevor but having a guy like Thomas back in the fold is really good and I think this team has always relied on the depth of the squad, so it’s good to have Thomas back.”
Saturday’s Test between the two neighbour countries at the City of Toyota Stadium is scheduled for 11:45 (SA time).
The match will be only the third meeting between the countries, with the Boks winning 105-13 at Newlands on the eve of the 2007 World Cup and 87-0 at the 2011 World Cup in New Zealand.