Rugby World Cup winner Handre Pollard will miss this year's re-scheduled Rugby Championship after his side Montpellier on Monday ruled him out for "many months" with a knee ligament tear.
South Africa's Pollard, 26, who lifted the Webb Ellis trophy last November, suffered the serious knee injury in last weekend's Top 14 defeat at Montpellier.
"Following last Friday night's match against Racing 92 at La Paris Defense Arena, the club confirm Handre Pollard's absence for many months after tearing an anterior cruciate ligament," the French outfit said.
"We wish him a prompt recovery," they added.
The Springboks are set to start the defence of the Rugby Championship, moved from this summer due to the coronavirus pandemic, by facing Argentina on 7 November with the tournament ending on December 12.
The Lions' Elton Jantjies and the Stormers' Damian Willemse were Pollard's back-ups at last year's World Cup in Japan.
Lock RG Snyman will be sidelined for this autumn after also sustaining anterior cruciate ligament damage on his Munster debut in August.
Fellow second-row Lood de Jager could be out for up to six months with a shoulder injury suffered on club duty with Sale and Toulon's Eben Etzebeth has played just 19 minutes this season with a rib issue.