South Africa star to miss Wales clash because his passport ran out of pages

Sbu Nkosi was due to help South Africa in their crusade for a first Cardiff win since 2013 this Saturday, but a clerical oversight has ruled the player out of facing Six Nations titleholders Wales.

That's after South African newspaper Rapport reported the winger was prevented from travelling with the squad to Europe following an issue with his travel documentation.

It's understood that while the Sharks speedster owns a valid passport, there were too few blank pages available for Nkosi to apply for the necessary visa.

That disruption has led to head coach Jacques Nienaber naming centre Jesse Kriel as a makeshift winger for the clash against Wales, who are coming off the back of Saturday's 54-16 humiliation against New Zealand.

Damian Willemse and Herschel Jantjies are the other changes from the South Africa XV that beat the All Blacks 31-29 in October, replacing Willie le Roux and Faf de Klerk at full-back and scrum-half, respectively.

Head coach Wayne Pivac will expect his side to be a lot more competitive in their second fixture of the autumn series, with a host of Premiership -based stars now eligible to represent their country.

Nkosi, 25, has scored nine tries in 16 appearances for South Africa and was part of the squad that beat England in Japan to be crowned world champions in 2019.

It's reported the player was instructed to sort out his passport situation as far back as June, but the Covid-19 pandemic and other obstacles prevented him from doing so.

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Assistant coach Deon Davids recently addressed the situation and told reporters: “In terms of Sbu Nkosi, there are logistical issues that need clarifying and he will hopefully join us soon. He is not yet with the squad, but all the other players are with the squad.”

Head coach Nienaber and director of rugby Rassie Erasmus will be frustrated to be missing the player considering his absence could have been avoided.

Replacement Kriel has made 39 starts for South Africa to date, but only two of those Test appearances came on the wing—against Argentina in 2015 and New Zealand three years later.

“Jesse has also been training hard; he is very experienced and he brings the physicality that will be necessary against Wales," Nienaber said of his replacement after announcing the team on Tuesday.

Nkosi will aim to link back up with his team-mates as swiftly as possible in the hopes he can return to contention for South Africa's other autumn fixtures against Scotland (Nov. 13) and England (Nov. 20).

The Springboks defeated Wales 19-16 en route to World Cup glory in 2019, edging that semi-final encounter before going on to beat England 32-12 in the decider.

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