The Springboks are sweating on the fitness of No.8 Duane Vermeulen, who's been bracketed alongside Schalk Burger for Sunday morning's clash with the All Blacks.
Vermeulen was South Africa's best and a constant thorn in the All Blacks side in New Zealand's narrow Rugby Championship win over the Springboks in Wellington last month.
It's no surprise he's been given as much time as possible to recover from a rib cartilage injury he suffered during last week's win over the Wallabies.
Vermeulen's All Blacks opposite Kieran Reid says it will be a blow for the Springboks if the big number eight is ruled out for the Johannesburg clash.
Read says Vermeulen is one of the most combative forwards he's played against and says he's been one of the Springboks best performers in 2014, describing the loosie as a, "Brute of an African."
Coach Heyneke Meyer has made one change to his starting line-up for Sunday morning's match with Bismark du Plessis, who was controversially sent off in Johannesburg last year, taking over at hooker from Adriaan Strauss in what is otherwise an unchanged side from the one that beat Australia 28-10 in Cape Town last weekend.
If Vermeulen fails a fitness test he'll replaced from the bench by veteran Schalk Burger, and Warren Whiteley will join the reserves.
"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."
The Springbok captain Jean de Villiers' will celebrate his 50th appearance in the Rugby Championship, the most by a South African.