Junior Boks flyhalf Damian Willemse has been ruled out for four to six weeks with a knee injury that he suffered in the win against Ireland.
Willemse left the field on a stretcher in the second half of the match, which the Junior Boks went on to win 30-17.
While the injury is not as bad as originally feared, it will rule him out for the rest of the Junior Boks’ and Stormers’ campaigns.
In a further blow to the team, wing Muller du Plessis has been ruled out for between two and four weeks with a gluteal muscle injury.
Western Province flyhalf David Coetzer and Sharks No 8 Phendulani Buthelezi will join the squad in France on Tuesday as injury replacements.
Both Coetzer and Buthelezi played extensive parts in the Junior Boks’ pre-season tour to the UK with Buthelezi starting all three games against Wales, Scotland and England.
Junior Boks coach Chean Roux said that although they could have risked Willemse in the playoffs, it was in his best interest to ensure that he is fully fit before playing again.
‘It is never good when players suffer injuries,’ Roux said. ‘In Damian’s case particularly, if we really had to, we could probably have strapped him and played him in one of the playoff games. But if one looks at the bigger picture, it is better for him as a player and for South African rugby that he takes a break and does proper recovery so that he can be 100% ready to play again.
‘He has had a very high workload this year at a high intensity, and although his injury is a big loss, it is better that he recovers properly so that he can return to action soon.’
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