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Vermeulen boost for Springboks

South Africa are confident of arriving at the World Cup with a clean bill of health despite being ravaged by injury during the Rugby Championship.

The most positive update concerns Duane Vermeulen, the outstanding number eight whose participation in England 2015 was in serious doubt after he had neck surgery earlier this month.

South Africa's player of the year for 2014, who is set to join Toulon after the World Cup, has progressed well in his rehabilitation and is on course to be ready for the global showpiece.

"We're continuing to work very hard with Duane and at this stage it's looking very likely we'll have a full complement of players available for selection when we name our World Cup squad at the end of August," team doctor Craig Roberts said.

While South Africa's injury outlook for England 2015 is bright, they continue to be undermined for the Rugby Championship with prop Jannie du Plessis and flanker Francois Louw now ruled out against Argentina on Saturday week with respective knee and shoulder injuries.

Lock Victor Matfield and wing JP Pietersen are also unavailable due to hamstring problems, but centre Jean de Villiers, scrum-half Fourie du Preez and flanker Willem Alberts could return for the final match of the tournament in Durban and will be assessed on Monday.

Full-back Francois Steyn may be back from his chest complaint in time to face Argentina in Buenos Aires in the World Cup warm-up match being held a week later.

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