Marco van Staden has emphasised his readiness to switch from loose-forward to hooker following the tournament-ending injury to Malcolm Marx.
Marx was on Thursday ruled out of the rest of the World Cup after suffering a long-term injury.
The Springboks are yet to call up a replacement, with Van Staden serving as an emergency option to support Bongi Mbonambi and utility forward Deon Fourie.
“I actually started practising as a hooker in the alignment camps and have been practicing my throwing on the side in case of injury or any situation that happens on the field and you need an emergency hooker,” Van Staden said on Friday.
“I’m very comfortable there in practice but I know that in the game that it would be far more different. All the other guys in the front row have helped me a lot to make the adjustment as easy as possible.
“I’ve had a lot of help from the other front rowers besides the throwing in the lineout.”
Van Staden has been selected in his usual flanker position to take on Romania in Bordeaux on Sunday with fellow backrower, Fourie, named in the replacement hooker’s No 16 jersey.
Fourie has played many times in the middle of the front row – both in his early career with the DHL Stormers and had two seasons in the position in France – with match-day skipper and starting hooker Bongi Mbonambi joking that he might have played there more times than Mbonambi had.
Meanwhile Van Staden is unfazed by the rigours of scrumming and the pressure it brings to the neck, while teammate Jean Kleyn joked about the size of Van Staden’s neck.
“It’s not bad on my neck,” he said.
Van Staden added: “I do a lot of neck exercises, so mine’s always strong but, yeah, it’s obviously a match scrum is not like training but if you condition yourself for that and it feels comfortable then it’s not a problem.”
Photo: Christiaan Kotze/Gallo Images