Shizuoka - The Springboks say star lock Eben Etzebeth remains fully focused on Friday's do-or-die Rugby World Cup match with Italy despite facing legal action for allegedly assaulting and racially abusing a homeless man.

SA Rugby said on Thursday it would launch an "internal process" over the matter after South Africa's Human Rights Commission announced it was taking the case to court.

Etzebeth, 27, allegedly insulted, assaulted and pointed a gun at a 42-year-old homeless man in Langebaan in August.

The 81 Test-capped second row, who has denied the allegations, was named in South Africa's squad for the World Cup in Japan just a day after the claims surfaced on social media.

"SA Rugby reaffirms its commitment as a good corporate citizen to abide by any requirements placed on it or its employees by South African authorities," SA Rugby said in a statement on Thursday.

"Following our discussions with the South African Human Rights Commission, we have instituted an internal process to address the matter, the details of which remain an employment matter between SA Rugby and the player," it added.

The Human Rights Commission announced it would "institute legal proceedings against Mr. Eben Etzebeth in the Equality Court" on Friday.

Despite the controversy, Etzebeth looked happy at the eve-of-match training at Ecopa Stadium, leading the squad onto the pitch wearing a cap and a large grin.

Assistant South Africa coach Mzwandile Stick also said the focus was entirely on the match against Italy, the winner of which will likely advance to the quarter-finals.

"I'm not going to lie to you and say we know much about what's happening with the case back in South Africa," Stick said.

"At the moment, we're in the World Cup and as coaches and players we're just focusing on making sure that we get the team into the right space.

"At the moment Eben's full-out for the World Cup. He's going to be playing tomorrow and he's going to be focusing on the game. He's been in a good space as a team player and also the players around him in the squad are in a good space."

Etzebeth, who has signed to play for Top 14 giants Toulon after the World Cup, was interviewed by Human Rights Commission officials before flying out with the South African squad.

The commission said it would meet the complainant on Thursday to take further instructions.

"We will definitely ask for monetary compensation. We will ask for a public apology. We will ask for criminal prosecution of Mr Etzebeth. We will ask for community service and other forms of relief," Buang Jones, acting head of legal serves at SAHRC, told AFP.

The commission will also hold a public meeting on Thursday in the town. "The community are demanding justice," said Jones.

He also said the commission will approach the country's police service to ask it to look into claims of bias against a police officer who initially investigated the matter.

Kick-off is at 11:45 (SA time) on Friday.

Teams:

South Africa

15 Willie le Roux, 14 Cheslin Kolbe, 13 Lukhanyo Am, 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Makazole Mapimpi, 10 Handre Pollard, 9 Faf de Klerk, 8 Duane Vermeulen, 7 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 6 Siya Kolisi (captain), 5 Lood de Jager, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Frans Malherbe, 2 Bongi Mbonambi, 1 Tendai Mtawarira

Substitutes: 16 Malcolm Marx, 17 Steven Kitshoff, 18 Vincent Koch, 19 RG Snyman, 20 Franco Mostert, 21 Francois Louw, 22 Herschel Jantjies, 23 Frans Steyn

Italy

15 Matteo Minozzi, 14 Tommaso Benvenuti, 13 Luca Morisi, 12  Jayden Hayward, 11 Michele Campagnaro, 10 Tommaso Allan, 9 Tito Tebaldi, 8 Sergio Parisse (captain), 7 Jake Polledri, 6 Braam Steyn, 5 Dean Budd, 4 David Sisi, 3 Simone Ferrari, 2 Luca Bigi, 1 Andrea Lovotti

Substitutes: 16 Federico Zani, 17 Nicola Quaglio, 18 Marco Riccioni, 19 Alessandro Zanni, 20 Federico Ruzza, 21 Sebastian Negri, 22 Callum Braley, 23 Carlo Canna