South Africa will be without the services of influential scrum-half Fourie du Preez for The Rugby Championship due to an ankle injury.
Du Preez left the field in the first half of Saturday's Test against Scotland. He was sent for x-rays immediately afterwards and went for an MRI scan in Pretoria on Monday, which confirmed earlier suspicions of an anterior syndesmotic injury that will keep him out for three months.
"It's a massive blow to lose yet another world-class player and a key player due to an injury," said Springbok boss Heyneke Meyer.
"Fourie is also a dynamic leader and one of the vice-captains in our team and his injury is a huge setback.
"Fourie has been brilliant since he returned to the Springboks last year and he will be missed. However, this provides an opportunity for other scrumhalves to prove themselves and make the step up when the opportunity arises."
According to Springbok team doctor Craig Roberts, Du Preez will undergo a procedure in the coming days to determine the stability of the syndesmosis.
"If it is unstable, he will require screw fixation but if it remains stable he can be treated conservatively without surgery," said Roberts.
"If it is stable and it is treated conservatively, Fourie will be out for approximately three months, but it could be more if he requires surgical fixation."
At the moment, six Springboks who featured for South Africa in the last year are not available for the Rugby Championship. They are Du Preez, Jaque Fourie (ankle), Pieter-Steph du Toit (knee), Arno Botha (knee), Pierre Spies (bicep) and Flip van der Merwe (knee).