Johannesburg - With Victor Matfield unlikely to face the All Blacks this Saturday, Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer has called up lock Flip van der Merwe into his squad.
Van der Merwe had earlier made himself unavailable due to a contractual dispute, but he has had positive discussions with the Bok coach.
“Flip is very experienced and can cover both lock positions, so it made sense to pro-actively assess our options and bring him in,” Meyer said via a press statement on Monday.
“We’ve had a great discussion and he has made himself available to play for the Springboks, which I’m very grateful for. Flip has always put his body on the line for the Boks and it will be great to have him back in the fold.”
Another lock, Pieter-Steph du Toit, will join the squad in Johannesburg later on Monday and his progress (knee injury) will also be reassessed.
Matfield and flank Marcell Coetzee are both doubtful for Saturday’s Test against New Zealand.
Both players were forced to leave the field last Saturday against Australia - Matfield with a hamstring strain and Coetzee with a knock to his knee.
According to Springbok team doctor Craig Roberts a call on their availability will only be made later in the week.
“Both are doubtful to play this weekend, but luckily neither of them are in doubt to miss the Rugby World Cup,” said Roberts.
“Jannie du Plessis and Schalk Burger also picked up knocks in Brisbane on Saturday and we will reassess them at our first training session of the week, on Tuesday. Apart from a lot of bumps and bruises, the rest of the squad should be fit for selection.”
The other injured players in the Springbok squad, Jean de Villiers, Fourie du Preez, Duane Vermeulen, Willem Alberts and Frans Steyn are not yet ready to be considered this weekend, Roberts added.