Bismarck du Plessis (Gallo Images)
Cape Town - There was fear in the week that Bismarck du Plessis's lacerated hand would rule him out of Saturday's World Cup semi-final against New Zealand.
The Springbok hooker received the injury in bizarre fashion in Saturday's quarter-final against Wales when loose forward Francois Louw accidentally stepped on his team-mate's hand.
But Du Plessis has been named in the starting line-up for the do-or-die clash against the All Blacks, and on Wednesday he revealed what Louw's first words were to him after the unfortunate incident against Wales.
"It was quite funny … when I wanted to look at my hand Francois Louw just put his hand over me and he said ‘Don’t look, don’t look, don’t look’," Du Plessis said.
While the injury is obviously not serious enough to have immediately ruled him out of the side for Saturday, there is still work to be done between now and kick-off.
"We’ve been working quite hard on it and hopefully it will be 100% by Saturday," said Du Plessis.
It doesn't get much bigger than a Springbok v New Zealand World Cup semi-final, and Du Plessis has been dreaming about moments like this since he was a little boy.
"We used to wake up at 3 or 4 o’ clock in the morning in cold Bethlehem to watch the Springboks play against the All Blacks … it was always a childhood dream for me," he said.
"For us our pressure started from the first game. We were in a knockout phase from the get-go just after Japan. We can take that with us, especially over this weekend, because we only have one chance."
Kick-off at Twickenham 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 Victor Matfield, 20 Willem Alberts, 21 Ruan Pienaar, 22 Pat Lambie, 23 Jan Serfontein