Vermeulen will be given as much time as possible to recover from injury while Du Plessis will start Saturday’s final round Castle Lager Rugby Championship Test.
This match will be Springbok captain Jean de Villiers’ 50th appearance in the Rugby Championship, the most by any South African.
Vermeulen is recovering from a rib cartilage injury and if he doesn’t recover in time to face New Zealand, Schalk Burger will start in the No 8 jersey with Warren Whiteley coming onto the bench.
“It’s been good to build some form of continuity and we’ll give Duane as much time as possible before making a final call,” said Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer.
“He’s been one of our best players in the last couple of weeks and is responding well to medical treatment, but if he can’t make it, we can fall back on the experience of Schalk to start at No 8 with Warren coming onto the bench.
“Schalk’s impact last weekend was massive, but so was the rest of the bench and we’ll be looking for more of the same on Saturday.
“At hooker, we’ve decided to rotate Bismarck with Adriaan Strauss, both of whom must rate among the best hookers in the world at the moment.”
Meyer said that the Springboks will need to be at their best, defend strongly and execute their attacking plays as well as possible on Saturday if they are going to be victorious against New Zealand.
Over the last three years since the last Rugby World Cup, the All Blacks have established themselves as one of the best Test teams of all time, losing only once and drawing once during this time.
“We’re well aware of the massive task that awaits us,” said Meyer.
“There are areas of the game we know we have to improve on against New Zealand. We’d like to go out there and enjoy the occasion and carry on where we left off against Australia. Hopefully we can get quick ball, like we did towards the end of the Test in Cape Town.”
Wing Lwazi Mvovo has been released to play in the Absa Currie Cup for the Sharks this weekend.
Springbok team: Willie le Roux, Cornal Hendricks, Jan Serfontein, Jean de Villiers (captain), Bryan Habana, Handre Pollard, Francois Hougaard, Duane Vermeulen / Schalk Burger, Teboho Mohoje, Marcell Coetzee, Victor Matfield, Eben Etzebeth, Jannie du Plessis, Bismarck du Plessis, Tendai Mtawarira. Replacements: Adriaan Strauss, Trevor Nyakane, Marcel van der Merwe, Bakkies Botha, Schalk Burger / Warren Whiteley, Cobus Reinach, Pat Lambie, JP Pietersen.