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South Africa duo doubtful for New Zealand Rugby Championship clash

South Africa have injury concerns over Bryan Habana and Duane Vermeulen ahead of their final Rugby Championship clash with New Zealand.

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Saturday's clash in Johannesburg is now a dead rubber after the All Blacks were crowned champions thanks to a 34-13 triumph over Argentina last weekend.

South Africa are hoping to end their campaign on a high, but face the prospect of going into the contest without winger Habana who suffered a blow to the head in the 28-10 triumph over Australia last Saturday.

"Bryan left the field and the standard head injury assessment was conducted by the match doctor, which cleared him to return to play," Springboks team doctor Craig Roberts told South Africa rugby's official website.

"Although Bryan returned to the field late in the first half, he developed some symptoms of concussion at the break and we decided to replace him permanently with JP Pietersen.

"He will need to follow the standard stepwise post-concussion return to play protocol before being considered for the Test at Ellis Park."

Number eight Vermeulen has been one of South Africa's top performers in 2014, but he too may have to sit out due to a rib injury.

"Duane fell awkwardly and injured a rib cartilage," Roberts added. "Due to discomfort he was unable to continue playing and was substituted.

"He's responded well to treatment but we will still manage him through training this week before making a final call on his availability to face New Zealand on Saturday."

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