South Africa have been dealt yet another injury blow, with Jaque Fourie ruled out of their year-end tour of Europe.
Fourie injured his foot in Western Province's final league phase match of the Currie Cup, and has since had an operation that will keep him sidelined for eight weeks.
Province coach Allister Coetzee expressed his sympathy for the 27-year-old centre.
"I feel sorry for Jaque," said Coetzee.
"Last week's game was his first for WP and he was really looking forward to help us win the Currie Cup.
"Now he sits with this injury."
The Springboks are set to play Ireland, Wales, Scotland and England on the tour, and Fourie's absence is going to be a "big blow" according to assistant coach Robbie Fleck.
"It is a big blow. Jaque has been immense this year for us," Fleck said.
"He is the best defensive 13 in the world and we all know what he can do on the attack."
The world champions are already without other regulars in captain John Smit and Gurthro Steenkamp through injury, whilst Andries Bekker, Heinrich Brussow and star scrum-half Fourie du Preez have also been ruled out.