South Africa added three players to their Tri-Nations squad today and dismissed reports that injured skipper John Smit could miss the World Cup in New Zealand next month.
Utility back Patrick Lambie, who can be deployed at fullback, second five-eighth or first five-eighth, left-wing Lwazi Mvovo and hooker Chiliboy Ralepelle were called up after a 14-9 defeat by Australia in Durban on Sunday condemned South Africa to finishing bottom.
All three featured in a disastrous two-loss away leg of the Tri-Nations for South Africa with Lambie and Mvovo starting in Sydney and Wellington and Ralepelle coming on in both Tests.
The Springboks face table-toppers New Zealand, who have opted to rest fly-half Dan Carter and loose forward and skipper Richie McCaw, in their last southern hemisphere championship match in Port Elizabath on Saturday.
It is the final chance for South Africans to impress coach Peter de Villiers before the World Cup squad is named on August 23.
Lambie is an interesting addition as many Springbok followers believe the 20-year-old from the Sharks is the missing link in a backline that failed to cross the try-line at Kings Park despite more adventurous fly-half Butch James being preferred to Morne Steyn.
Mvovo and Ralepelle are serious contenders for places in the 30-man World Cup squad, but are not going to be first choices with their positions occupied by World Cup winners Bryan Habana and Smit respectively.
Smit went off injured four minutes before fulltime against the Wallabies and reports quoting an anonymous source soon spread that he had torn elbow ligaments and would miss the world rugby union showpiece in September and October.
Medical staff will release an update on Monday on injuries to Smit (elbow), full-back Francois Steyn (hamstring) and blind-side flank Danie Rossouw (shoulder), but dismissed reports concerning the captain as completely inaccurate.
Revised Springbok squad
Backs: Gio Aplon, Francois Steyn, JP Pietersen, Bryan Habana, Lwazi Mvovo, Jaque Fourie, Juan de Jongh, Jean de Villiers, Morne Steyn, Butch James, Patrick Lambie, Ruan Pienaar, Fourie du Preez, Francois Hougaard
Forwards: Pierre Spies, Jean Deysel, Heinrich Brussow, Danie Rossouw, Bakkies Botha, Victor Matfield, Gerhard Mostert, John Smit (capt), Bismarck du Plessis, Chiliboy Ralepelle, Tendai Mtawarira, Jannie du Plessis, Gurthro Steenkamp, CJ van der Linde