Springbok scrumhalf Fourie du Preez has been ruled out of the Rugby Championship after he injured his ankle playing for South Africa against Scotland in Port Elizabeth.
Du Preez was forced to leave the field in the first half of the Test which was eventually won 55-6 by South Africa.
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. He will be sidelined for at least three months.
"It's a massive blow to lose yet another world-class player and a key player due to an injury," said Springbok 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."
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 Championships.
They are Du Preez, Jaque Fourie (ankle), Pieter-Steph du Toit (knee), Arno Botha (knee), Pierre Spies (bicep) and Flip van der Merwe (knee).