The team confirmed on Thursday that Eben Itzebeth’s father had died after a battle with cancer, leaving the towering lock in doubt for the rugby championship match against New Zealand.
“Aben’s father has passed away,” a team spokesman told Reuters.
With regular captain Sia Colsi out of action with a knee injury, Etzebeth was scheduled to play for the world champion Springboks for the first time this season after recovering from the injury.
However, South African media reports citing team sources said he would be given time to decide whether to play against the All Blacks in Auckland on Saturday.
The team declined to confirm its place in the matchday squad.
Coach Jack Nienaber had welcomed the idea of Etzebeth’s return.
“Aben has been working hard in the past few months to fully recover from his shoulder injury and it’s great to see him back on the field for this important match,” he said this week after naming Etzebeth to his squad.
South Africa opened their Rugby Championship campaign with a 43-12 win over Australia in Pretoria last weekend.