Facing the world champion All Blacks without the Springboks’ Player of the Year, Lood de Jager, will not be an easy task according to No.8 Warren Whiteley.
New Zealand’s second row is made up of Brodie Retallick and Sam Whitelock – who are seen as one of the best combinations in the world currently.
And with Eben Etzebeth and De Jager being Allister Coetzee’s preferred combo in the middle of the engine room, De Jager’s injury has hindered the Boks’ plans a bit.
Whiteley tells Stuff New Zealand: “[It’s] a massive loss for us. He’ a Trojan within the side, the contributions he’s made in the last couple of seasons have been massive, particularly in the World Cup.
“He’s a physical player, I don’t know how tall he is… he’s 2.06, he’s got a helluva presence there, he will definitely be missed, that’s for sure.
“But we’re confident we’ve got systems in place and the guys taking over will do the job for us.”
Coach Coetzee flew in Willem Alberts as cover for De Jager, adding: “We needed to bring in a flanker who could cover the lock position.
“It’s great to have [Alberts’] experience back in the side.”
“I’m really positive that Pieter-Steph du Toit or Franco Mostert possibly, get a chance to come off the bench this weekend as locks.
“It’s great to test yourself against the quality of the All Blacks, but [the injuries are] no excuse for us.”
Of the All Blacks’ lineout, Coetzee adds: “That’s one area, over the years, where we really looked to attack and put [under] pressure, but in the last couple of years they’ve made tremendous strides in that department as well.”
There were some good news for the Springboks ahead of the clash, with both Johan Goosen and Faf de Klerk being cleared of injury.
Goosen and De Klerk both went for scans after suffering ankle and chest injuries respectively last weekend.