Johannesburg - All Blacks coach Steve Hansen expects star flank Richie McCaw to start against the Springboks at Ellis Park on Saturday in the Rugby Championship title decider.
A knee injury against Argentina this month forced the skipper to miss a home match against South Africa and the return game against the Pumas.
New Zealand arrived in Johannesburg Monday with Hansen upbeat that McCaw will be in the starting line-up for the sell-out Test.
"Richie got better and better last week as he trained in Argentina and feels he will be fine. I agree with that assessment," said the coach.
There is concern about a groin injury prop Owen Franks sustained during the 33-15 triumph over Argentina in La Plata and Ben Afeaki is on stand-by.
Defendng champions New Zealand have 23 points and South Africa 18 going into the final-round southern hemisphere championship fixture.
To snatch the title, the Springboks must win by more than seven points, score four tries, and prevent the All Blacks picking up a four-try bonus point.
South Africa would then be level on 23 points with their greatest rivals, but have a better scoring differential.