Forwards Danie Rossouw, Wickus van Heerden and Gurthro Steenkamp withdrew injured on Monday from South Africa’s short rugby tour of Britain.
Star scrumhalf Fourie du Preez also looks like staying home and missing the Test against Wales at Cardiff on November 24 and the celebration match with the Barbarians at Twickenham on December 1.
Loose forwards Rossouw and Van Heerden had neck injuries and were replaced by the Blue Bulls’ Hilton Lobberts and the Sharks’ Ryan Kankowski when the squad assembled on Monday, said Planet-rugby.com.
Steenkamp, another starter from South Africa’s World Cup final victory last month, cut his hand and had his position filled by Wian du Preez of Currie Cup champions the Cheetahs.
Fourie du Preez, who was married on Saturday, wants to have an operation on the shoulder he hurt in the Super 14, to try to be fully healed before the next Super 14 beginning in February.
Chairperson of selectors Peter Jooste said they may not replace Fourie du Preez as they already have two scrumhalves in the squad in Ricky Januarie and Ruan Pienaar.
The latest changes, following last week’s withdrawal of fullback Percy Montgomery with a sore knee, mean uncapped Lions prop Heinke van der Merwe is in line to make his test debut against Wales.
Van der Merwe travelled with the second-string Springboks to Australia and New Zealand in the Tri-Nations but didn’t play. Kankowski, as the only specialist number eight in the touring squad, also could play his first Test.
Meanwhile, captain John Smit will not be released by his new French club, Clermont Auvergne, for the Barbarians game. — Sapa-AP
Forwards: Bakkies Botha, Schalk Burger, Bismarck du Plessis, Jannie du Plessis, Wian du Preez, Ryan Kankowski, Hilton Lobberts, Victor Matfield, Johann Muller, John Smit (captain), Juan Smith, Albert van den Berg, CJ van der Linde, Heinke van der Merwe.
Backs: Fourie du Preez, Jaque Fourie, Bryan Habana, Conrad Jantjes, Ricky Januarie, Wayne Julies, Akona Ndungane, Wynand Olivier, Ruan Pienaar, JP Pietersen, Andre Pretorius, Francois Steyn.