Cape Town – Springbok lock Flip van der Merwe is an injury concern ahead of Saturday's Rugby Championship fixture against Australia at Newlands.
Team doctor Craig Roberts told journalists in Cape Town on Monday that Van der Merwe was battling a glute muscle strain.
Van der Merwe is one of three players presently nursing injuries.
“There are three players that we need to build up this week in the hope of making them ready to play against Australia,” said Roberts.
“The players picked up the injuries in the last match (against New Zealand). Flip has a glute muscle strain. He'll have to take it easy on contact this week.
“JJ (Engelbrecht) suffered a 'lammie' (haematoma) and will only do partial training. Gurthro (Steenkamp) has a Grade one AC joint strain although he did all the training except the contact today, so he should be fine for the weekend.”
Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer said Van der Merwe was his real concern.
“I am worried about Flip but I know that our medical team has worked miracles in the past.”
The All Blacks are four points clear of the Boks at the top of the standings. Meyer said it was pointless doing the mathematics when looking at the options to win the competition.
“We can't look past this game because right now it is the most important one for us,” said Meyer.
“I've had the experience in the past (of looking ahead) and you can't work out the mathematics because you'll lose focus on the game at hand. We have to win this game to give ourselves a chance to win the Championship.”
Meyer said he needed to ensure the team erased the memory of their controversial last game against the All Blacks.
“What happened in our last match has been tough for me, it has been very emotional. That's history now and we've been on an emotional roller-coaster.
“My main job is to get the guys focused and I think the Wallabies will be more motivated than us.”
Meyer said he did not anticipate many changes to the side that lost 29-15 to the All Blacks two weeks ago.
“There won't be too many changes, but one knows that some players who are useless away are brilliant at home,” said Meyer.
“It is great to have a player of (Fourie) du Preez's calibre back because he thrives on pressure. At the start of the year I was worried about our scrums but I'm very proud of the way we're scrumming now. The new scrum rules are working well.” – Sapa