South Africa's ongoing World Cup campaign has suffered a setback with centre Jesse Kriel ruled out for the remainder of the tournament after failing to recover from a hamstring injury.
Kriel suffered the blow during the opening game of the tournament against New Zealand where he came off the bench in the 57th minute.
Erasmus revealed that even though the 25-year-old's condition has improved, he is unlikely to recover in time for the remainder of the tournament. Stormers' Damian Willemse, who has played five Tests for the Springboks last year has been named as the replacement for Kriel.
“Damian would have been more involved with us this year but for injury, but he is familiar with our systems and should have no problem slotting in,” said Erasmus.
“He has the ability to play in a number of positions in the back division, while other players can cover Jesse’s No 13 jersey.
“I feel for Jesse. He has been in the match-day 23 for almost every match since I took over and is a model professional. He was a key member of the squad.”
South Africa currently are at second place in Pool B with five points and will face Italy next at Shizuoka Stadium Ecopa on Friday.