The Springboks are set to drop veteran forward Duane Vermeulen for their Rugby Championship clash against Argentina in Buenos Aires on Saturday, according to reports.
Vermeulen returned to action for the Springboks in their second test match against the All Blacks in August after he missed the July test series against Wales.
He went on to start the first test against Australia too before earning his first test cap from the bench in the second test against the Wallabies.
According to Rapport, the experienced loose forward will be dropped from the matchday 23 for the cash with Los Pumas with young Bulls rookie Elrigh Louw coming onto the bench for the third time this year.
The Rapport adds that Vermeulen is still working his way back to fitness and form after undergoing surgery on his knee.
With all four teams in the competition still in the race for the title, the report claims that the Springboks have shelved thoughts of experimenting with player selections and will pick what they believe to be their strongest possible side to face Michael Cheika's charges.
Willemse to continue at 10
Damian Willemse is set to continue at flyhalf for the Springboks with Handre Pollard ruled out and Elton Jantjies sent home to South Africa.
Reports suggested that Jantjies is having an affair with the team’s dietitian. SA Rugby released the following statement confirming Jantjies' departure from Argentina:
'The Springbok management are aware of reports regarding Springbok flyhalf Elton Jantjies and team dietician Zeenat Simjee between the training camp in Sabie and the Test match against New Zealand in Mbombela earlier this year.
No team protocols were breached, but the individuals are returning to South Africa to attend to these personal reports and to eliminate any distractions to the team’s preparations for the Test against Argentina.'
With Jantjies effectively ruled out, Willemse is the front runner for the number 10 jumper with Frans Steyn the only other likely option for the role.
Louw's versatility earns him a recall
It is believed that Louw's ability to play in the second row, as well as the back row, has earned him a place in the matchday 23 to face Argentina.
The abrasive forward was a standout for the Bulls during the 2021/22 United Rugby Championship season, where he featured mostly in the no.8 jersey.
The 22-year-old made a notable impact off the bench against Wales in his test debut making a telling carry that eventually lead to a try for the Springboks.
With Jasper Wiese having racked up well over 30 matches for club and country in the most year, it's possible that Louw may be required to add a similar ball-in-hand threat early on in the second half.