Cape Town - Stormers utility back Damian Willemse will fly out to Japan to join the Springbok Rugby World Cup squad following the injury withdrawal of Jesse Kriel.

Kriel sustained a hamstring injury in the opening match of the tournament against New Zealand and although the condition has improved it was insufficient to put him in contention for either of the remaining two pool games.

Willemse, 21, who is on loan to Saracens in England, will join the squad in Japan on Thursday. He won all of his five caps in 2018.  

"Damian would have been more involved with us this year but for injury, but he is familiar with our systems and should have no problem slotting in," coach Rassie Erasmus said via a press statement.

The Bok mentor added: "He has the ability to play in a number of positions in the back division, while other players can cover Jesse's No 13 jersey.

"I feel for Jesse. He has been in the match-day 23 for almost every match since I took over and is a model professional. He was a key member of the squad."

Willemse is the second replacement in the Springbok World Cup squad, after prop Thomas du Toit previously replaced Trevor Nyakane.

South Africa's next encounter is against Italy in Shizuoka on Friday (11:45 SA time).

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

TBA

- SA Rugby