The Springboks had earlier this week released a list of 21 players unavailable for selection for the games against Australia and New Zealand on July 23 and July 30, and Australian Rugby Union chief executive John O'Neill has already called for there to be an investigation into the announcement, fearing that South Africa are saving their best players for their World Cup defence later this year.
Among those absent are locks Victor Matfield (calf and neck) and Bakkies Botha (knee), back-rowers Schalk Burger (thumb) and Juan Smith (Achilles), wing Bryan Habana (shoulder), scrum-half Fourie du Preez (knee) and centre Jaque Fourie (groin).
Captain John Smit is selected, as are fly-half Morne Steyn and flanker Heinrich Brussow, although the trio are the only genuine first-choice players in the party.
South Africa rested several players in the build-up to the 2007 World Cup, which they went on to win, but the SANZAR nations now have an agreement in place that prevents them from damaging the competition by fielding weakened sides.
O'Neill was quoted in the Sydney Morning Herald as saying: "We're not in a position to second-guess the Springboks, and we also have our share of injured players. But it is nowhere near 21. The sheer size of the number of players who are injured is unusual.
"That's why we have asked for assurances. Regardless of what South Africa does, our preparation for the World Cup starts now, and the integrity of the Tri Nations series is critically important."
The sheer number of absentees mean a number of promising young players get the chance to repeat their impressive displays during the Super Rugby season.
Fly-halves Patrick Lambie and Elton Jantjies are included as is Sharks wing Lwazi Mvovo and scrum-half Charl McLeod. Up front back-rowers Jean Deysel and Ashley Johnson and prop Werner Kruger are all given call-ups.
The Bulls pair of wing Bjorn Basson and hooker Chiliboy Ralepelle earn recalls after being sent home early from last November's tour of Britain and Ireland following positive drugs tests for banned stimulant Methylhexamine. The pair were later cleared by a South African Rugby Union judicial hearing.
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