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Springboks given third test boost as Duane Vermeulen cleared to join camp


Duane Vermeulen has been passed to fit to rejoin the South Africa squad, in a huge boost to their third test chances against the Lions next Saturday.

The Bulls number 8 has been out for the last seven weeks following ankle surgery but will rejoin the squad in Cape Town.

The World Cup winner's absence at the base of the scrum has been filled by Kwagga Smith and Jasper Wiese in the first two tests, and while he hasn't been declared fit to play this Saturday's test series decider at the DHL Stadium, head coach Jacques Nienaber says they will give him every chance of proving his fitness.

"Duane will join us on Sunday and will be medically assessed as soon as possible," Nienaber said.

"We will never risk a player who is not 100% fit but he brings experience to the squad and it will be great to have him with us."

The 35-year-old's presence would be an even greater boost given the injury doubts surrounding former World Player of the Year Pieter Steph du Toit. The flanker suffered a first half shoulder injury in yesterday's 27-9 win against the Lions, with the Springboks saying they will further assess his injury this week.

They are also set to be sweating on the fitness of scrumhalf Faf de Klerk, who looked in real discomfort with his hip following an attempted kick, before being quickly replaced by Herschel Jantjies.

Catch every moment of the British and Irish Lions series on Off The Ball, with live commentary from the likes of Brian O’Driscoll, Ronan O’Gara, Keith Wood, Alan Quinlan and more throughout the test series.

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