Injuries to Garry Ringrose and Jared Payne open the door for Henshaw to move out to 13 to accommodate his former Connacht partner Aki at inside centre, and Easterby said: “The rules are the rules and Bundee has invested time into moving to Connacht and has played exceptionally well while playing here.
“There is always the question over eligibility of players, whether it’s residency, grand-parentage, parentage if players aren’t born in the country.
“Bundee and other players will be potentially singled out but he’s certainly fitted in well and has trained well.
“He’s a confident character. He wouldn’t have put himself in this position had he not had the confidence in himself and in the group that they back him in that decision. He’s not the first and he won’t be the last player to do it.”
Flanker Tommy O’Donnell is likely to miss the Springboks Test after suffering a shoulder injury in training on Monday. Fellow back-rowers Jack Conan and Dan Leavy are also doubtful.