South Africa scrum-half Fourie du Preez will miss the upcoming Rugby Championship after injuring his ankle in the victory over Scotland.
The scrum-half left the field in the first half of the 55-6 victory over the tourists and X-rays and an MRI scan in Pretoria confirmed earlier suspicions of an anterior syndesmotic injury and the news he would be sidelined for at least three months.
Du Preez, 32, made his Test debut in 2004 and his appearance on Saturday was his 70th in all.
He joins Jaque Fourie (ankle), Pieter-Steph du Toit (knee), Arno Botha (knee), Pierre Spies (bicep) and Flip van der Merwe (knee) on the Springbok sidelines.
South Africa host Argentina on August 16, the tournament's opening weekend.
“It’s a massive blow to lose yet another world-class player and a key player due to an injury,” said South Africa coach 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.”
Team doctor Craig Roberts revealed Du Preez would undergo a procedure in the coming days to determine the stability of the syndesmosis in his ankle and whether or not an operation would be required.
“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.”