World Cup-winning number eight Duane Vermeulen has re-joined the Springboks camp, to add to the British and Irish Lions’ worries.
The 35-year-old powerhouse loose-forward appears ready to win his fitness race after ankle surgery and be available for Saturday’s Lions Test series decider.
The 54-cap back-row joined the Springboks camp in June only to suffer an ankle issue, and has been undergoing hyperbaric oxygen therapy in a bid to be fit to face the Lions.
Bulls head coach Jake White had cast doubt on Vermeulen’s chances of taking on the Lions earlier this week, but the vastly-experienced forward linked back up with the Boks on Sunday.
“Duane will join us on Sunday and will be medically assessed as soon as possible,” said Springboks head coach Jacques Nienaber.
“We will never risk a player who is not 100 per cent fit but he brings experience to the squad and it will be great to have him with us.”
South Africa pummelled the Lions 27-9 in Saturday’s second Test, to square the three-match series at one win apiece.
Makazole Mapimpi and Lukhanyo Am’s tries helped the Boks seal a 21-0 second-half scoreline, with the Lions resoundingly beaten in Cape Town.
An ill-tempered affair saw Cheslin Kolbe prove fortunate to avoid a red card for tackling Conor Murray in the air, while the likes of Stuart Hogg, Maro Itoje and Faf De Klerk could yet come under citing officer scrutiny.