Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer has made just one change to his starting XV for Saturday’s clash with the All Blacks in Johannesburg.
Number eight Duane Vermeulen will be given as much time as possible to recover from injury while Bismarck du Plessis comes in to the run-on side at Adriaan Strauss’ expense.
This match will be Springbok captain Jean de Villiers’ 50th appearance in the Rugby Championship, the most by any South African.
Vermeulen is recovering from a rib cartilage injury and if he doesn’t recover in time to face New Zealand, Schalk Burger will start in the number eight jersey with Warren Whiteley coming onto the bench.
If Vermeulen is cleared to play, the inclusion of Du Plessis at hooker will be the only change to the team that beat Australia by 28-10 in Cape Town last weekend.
“It’s been good to build some form of continuity and we’ll give Duane as much time as possible before making a final call,” said Meyer.
“He’s been one of our best players in the last couple of weeks and is responding well to medical treatment, but if he can’t make it, we can fall back on the experience of Schalk to start at number eight with Warren coming onto the bench.
“Schalk’s impact last weekend was massive, but so was the rest of the bench and we’ll be looking for more of the same on Saturday.
“At hooker, we’ve decided to rotate Bismarck with Adriaan Strauss, both of whom must rate amongst the best hookers in the world at the moment.”
Meyer said that the Springboks will need to be at their best, defend strongly and execute their attacking plays as well as possible on Saturday if they are going to be victorious against New Zealand.
Over the last three years since the last Rugby World Cup, the All Blacks have established themselves as one of the best Test teams of all time, losing only once and drawing once during this time.
“We’re well aware of the massive task that awaits us,” added Meyer.
“There are areas of the game we know we have to improve on against New Zealand.
“We’d like to go out there and enjoy the occasion and carry on where we left off against Australia.
“Hopefully we can get quick ball, like we did towards the end of the Test in Cape Town.”
Lwazi Mvovo has been released to play in the Currie Cup for the Sharks this weekend.
South Africa: 15 Willie le Roux, 14 Cornal Hendricks, 13 Jan Serfontein, 12 Jean de Villiers (c), 11 Bryan Habana, 10 Handr