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South Africa injury worries over Bismarck du Plessis and Lood de Jager

South Africa forwards Bismarck du Plessis and Lood de Jager are injury doubts for the World Cup semi-final against New Zealand.

Du Plessis sustained a wound to his right hand in the 23-19 victory over Wales on Saturday while De Jager, the 22-year-old lock who has emerged as a star of the tournament, has a foot problem.

The duo's fitness will be monitored over the coming days, but the Springboks have been able to deliver a positive update on veteran second row Victor Matfield

"Bismarck has a nasty laceration to his right hand. Francois Louw accidently stood on his hand," team doctor Craig Roberts said.

"Luckily no fracture but it is a bit sore and swollen for him, so we will keep an eye on him throughout the week.

"Lood has injured a tendon in his foot so we need to give him some time to see how that settles and we will make a decision later in the week on his availability for the All Blacks game.

"Victor has been doing really well with his rehab. He has been working really hard and progressing nicely but we will have to see nearer the end of the week."

South Africa delivered the decisive moment against Wales five minutes from time when they wheeled a scrum to exploit a short blindside.

Number eight Duane Vermeulen broke, stood up in the tackle with Alex Cuthbert rushing in off his wing before flicking a pass to Fourie du Preez for the scrum-half to race in.

Victory continues the Springboks' recovery from their stunning defeat by Japan on the opening weekend of England 2015 and Vermeulen insists the biggest upset in rugby history was a pivotal moment.

"We had a meeting on the Monday straight after the Japan game and that's when the change in mentality happened. Everyone opened up and gave their bit. We moved on from there," Vermeulen said.

"We took a hard look at each other and said 'what do we want to achieve? Where do we want to go in this World Cup? Do we only want to be there to compete or do we want to be contenders and go out and win this World Cup?'

"The other thing we did was go back to playing our game. Against Japan, we wanted to play a whole different type of gameplan and that's not the way that South Africa and Springboks play.

"We made slight changes but slight changes make a massive impact throughout a whole game of 80 minutes.

"You can see the difference in a full 80 minutes coming back to the way we wanted to play and the coach wanted us to play.

"Losing to Japan definitely helped us to grow closer to each other and focus on what's more important in this World Cup: is it the individual or is it the team? We definitely fine-tuned that and got the whole focus right for us.

"It has been an uphill battle for us. I think as a South African you always produce when you are the underdog. We would like to keep it that way because we still have not won anything or achieved anything."


From Belfast Telegraph