Duane Vermeulen given go ahead to play

The loose forward has been cleared to play against Samoa on Saturday.

Springbok loose forward Duane Vermeulen speaks to the media after a training session. Picture: Vumani Mkhize/EWN.

BIRMINGHAM - South African loose forward Duane Vermeulen, voted the country's best player last year, has been cleared to play against Samoa in the Rugby World Cup in Birmingham on Saturday, team officials said.

But Willem Alberts, who had to pull out just hours before Saturday's shock 34-32 defeat to Japan in Brighton because of a calf injury, is in doubt and will be assessed again before the team selection is announced on Wednesday.

"He was feeling it a little bit and we didn't want to risk him and potentially rule him out for the whole tournament," South Africa team doctor Craig Roberts said on Sunday.

"We made the decision to be a little bit cautious rather than risk him."

Vermuelen had a neck operation just two months ago after a training round injury.

Visit the Eyewitness News special Rugby World Cup 2015 portal.