Lukhanyo Am, a member of the Springboks’ 2019 Rugby World Cup winning team, has been called into the 2023 squad as an injury replacement for wing Makazole Mapimpi. Mapimpi suffered a fractured cheekbone in Sunday’s 49-18 victory over Tonga on Sunday.

Mapimpi is expected to be out of action for four to six weeks.

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Am will join the squad in Toulon this week, having returned to training on his rehabilitation from a knee injury suffered in the 24-13 victory over Argentina in Buenos Aires on 5 August.

LUKHANYO AM JOINS THE SPRINGBOKS WORLD CUP SQUAD 

The 29-year-old centre missed out on squad selection because of the injury. He appeared in the first four matches of the season as he recovered from a knee injury suffered in 2022.

He is the second injury replacement to the 33-man squad. This follows the call-up of flyhalf Handre Pollard for hooker Malcolm Marx. Pollard made a successful return to the team against Tonga.

Three experienced Springboks were nominated for the coveted SA Rugby Player of the Year Award for the SA Rugby Awards 2022.

Lukhanyo Am, Eben Etzebeth and Siya Kolisi are the players gunning for the converted award. 

This is for a second year running at the SA Rugby Awards. They will be up against Kurt-Lee Arendse and Frans Malherbe after the quintet of Boks earned the most votes in the nomination process.

SA Rugby announced the SA Rugby Awards nominees in nine categories on Wednesday.

Springbok captain Kolisi won the award for a stellar 2021 season. Along with Etzebeth, who became the seventh player to earn his 100th Springbok Test cap this year, and Am, whose influence was crucial before he picked up a season-ending injury in August, the trio were central to the Boks’ efforts in 2022.

STERLING PERFORMANCES 

Former Blitzbok star Arendse was sublime in his debut season for the Boks and scored seven tries in as many Tests. The ever-reliant Malherbe was a rock in the pack and he quietly went about his job of putting the Boks on the front-foot from the first phase.

For the first time, media and SA Rugby stakeholders also voted for the Springbok Women’s Player of the Year. The five nominees all played in the Rugby World Cup in New Zealand in October – last year’s winner Lusanda Dumke, 2019 winner Aseza Hele, as well as Zintle Mpupha, Aphiwe Ngwevu and Nadine Roos.

Springbok captain Siya Kolisi
Springbok captain Siya Kolisi

The next generation of national players were nominated in the category for Young Player of the Year, which only takes into consideration Under-23s. They are Sacha Feinberg-Mngomezulu, Jaden Hendrikse, Canan Moodie, Evan Roos and Henco van Wyk.

Sacha Feinberg-Mngomezulu was also nominated in the category for Junior Springbok Player of the Year. Same category as Suleiman Hartzenberg and Ruan Venter.

And the three Blitzboks who were nominated for the Springbok Sevens Player of the Year Award are Selvyn Davids, Zain Davids and JC Pretorius.

GOOD SEASON FOR BOKS

After a good season in which they won eight Test out of 13 and had close defeats to the top two teams in the world. The Springboks are in Teams of the Year, with the DHL Stormers, winners of the inaugural Vodacom United Rugby Championship, and the Carling Currie Cup champions, the Airlink Pumas, the two other nominated sides.

These three teams’ coaches, John Dobson (DHL Stormers), Jacques Nienaber (Springboks) and Jimmy Stonehouse (Airlink Pumas) also got the most votes in the category for Coach of the Year.

The Airlink Pumas’ domestic triumph was reflected in the nominations for Carling Currie Cup Premier Division Player of the Year, with three men from Mpumalanga up against each other for the award – Sebastiaan de Klerk, Willie Engelbrecht and Devon Williams.

And in the final category, Jaywinn Juries and Duan Pretorius of eventual champions, the Down Touch Griffons, are up against Jaiden Baron of the Boland Kavaliers for the Carling Currie Cup First Division Player of the Year award.

The award for the Player of the Vodacom United Rugby Championship will be made at the conclusion of the competition next year.

SA RUGBY AWARDS NOMINEES:

SA Rugby Player of the Year

Lukhanyo Am

Kurt-Lee Arendse

Eben Etzebeth

Siya Kolisi

Frans Malherbe

Springbok Women’s Player of the Year

Lusanda Dumke

Aseza Hele

Zintle Mpupha

Aphiwe Ngwevu

Nadine Roos

SA Rugby Young Player of the Year

Sacha Feinberg-Mngomezulu (Junior Springboks / South Africa ‘A’ / DHL Stormers)

Jaden Hendrikse (Springboks / Cell C Sharks)

Canan Moodie (Springboks / Vodacom Bulls)

Evan Roos (Springboks / DHL Stormers)

Henco van Wyk (South Africa ‘A’ / Emirates Lions)

Springbok Sevens Player of the Year

Selvyn Davids

Zain Davids

JC Pretorius

Junior Springbok Player of the Year

Sacha Feinberg-Mngomezulu

Suleiman Hartzenberg

Ruan Venter

Team of the Year

Airlink Pumas

DHL Stormers

Springboks

Coach of the Year

John Dobson (DHL Stormers)

Jacques Nienaber (Springboks)

Jimmy Stonehouse (Airlink Pumas)

Carling Currie Cup Premier Division Player of the Year

Sebastiaan de Klerk (Airlink Pumas)

Willie Engelbrecht (Airlink Pumas)

Devon Williams (Airlink Pumas)

Carling Currie Cup First Division Player of the Year

Jaiden Baron (Boland Kavaliers)

Jaywinn Juries (Down Touch Griffons)

Duan Pretorius (Down Touch Griffons

President of SA Rugby Mark Alexander has congratulated Springbok centre Lukhanyo Am and Springbok Women wing Nomawethu Mabenge. The pair have been nominated in the annual World Rugby Awards.

The nominations were announced on Monday on World Rugby’s social media channels. The winners will be announced on Sunday evening.

Am was also named as one of the nominees for the World Rugby Men’s 15s Player of the Year in partnership with Mastercard. Mabenge was nominated in the category for International Rugby Players Women’s Try of the Year. This is for her score in the first Test against Spain in Potchefstroom on 19 August.

Along with Am, the other nominees in the Men’s 15s Player of the Year category are last year’s winner, Antoine Dupont of France. And also, the Ireland duo of Johnny Sexton and Josh van der Flier.

Sylvia Blunt (NZ), Abby Dow (England), Emily Chancellor (Australia) and Linda Djougang (Ireland) were nominated for Women’s Try of the Year with Mabenge, who scored five tries in seven Tests this year. This includes South Africa’s first five-pointer against France in their Rugby World Cup opener.

SA Rugby Springboks
SA Rugby Springboks

SA RUGBY PROUD

“On behalf of SA Rugby and South Africa’s passionate rugby fans, we would like to congratulate Lukhanyo and Nomawethu for their nominations this year,” said Mr Alexander.

“Only the best of the best are nominated for World Rugby awards. To be part of these selected groups is a superb achievement, we are also very proud of them.

“Lukhanyo was in superb form for the Springboks before an unfortunate injury cut short his season. He has cemented his place in our backline over the last few seasons, growing in confidence and playing better every year.

“On her part, Nomawethu has developed into a brilliant wing who knows her way to the tryline, scoring five tries this season. But the try against Spain stood out as it was a wonderful team effort, finished by one of our speedsters.”

HOW TO VOTE

Fans can vote for their favourite try of the year by clicking here, until Thursday, 17 November at 23h59 (GMT). The Awards ceremony is taking place in Monaco on Sunday 20 November. They will be streamed live on the World Rugby website, with exclusive content posted on the @WorldRugby social media channels.