Victor Matfield (Gallo Images)
Cape Town - Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer had a selection headache in the second row this week ahead of Saturday's World Cup quarter-final against Wales.
Veteran Victor Matfield was on the road to recovery from his hamstring strain, but 22-year-old Lood de Jager was thriving in his absence.
But the decision was made for Meyer when Matfield approached him this week saying that he was still feeling tight and that he had not completely recovered from his hamstring strain.
Scrumhalf Fourie du Preez continues to lead the side.
"Victor was very close to selection. He trained with the team for the first two days but there is still some tightness and some soreness there," Meyer said at Wednesday's team announcement.
"This is a very important game for us ... but we also don't want to risk him for the long term. It's going to be a grueling battle out there ... very physical and an arm wrestle and you can't get somebody on, especially from the bench, that is not 100% fit."
Meyer applauded Matfield's honesty in the situation.
"Victor is a professional and he came to me to say he probably won't be able to give his best," said Meyer.
"He want to play but it is better if he withdraws.
"It's tough, losing both captains, especially Victor in this game ... he's very good in the lineouts. But the youngsters have done well and we're going to back them. they've learnt a lot from him (Matfield)."
Pieter-Steph du Toit will continue to provide lock cover off the bench. Kick-off on Saturday is at 17:00.
15 Willie le Roux, 14 JP Pietersen, 13 Jesse Kriel, 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Bryan Habana, 10 Handre Pollard, 9 Fourie du Preez (captain), 8 Duane Vermeulen, 7 Schalk Burger, 6 Francois Louw, 5 Lood de Jager, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Frans Malherbe, 2 Bismarck du Plessis, 1 Tendai Mtawarira
Substitutes: 16 Adriaan Strauss, 17 Trevor Nyakane, 18 Jannie du Plessis, 19 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 20 Willem Alberts, 21 Ruan Pienaar, 22 Pat Lambie, 23 Jan Serfontein.