Cape Town - Springbok lock Lood de Jager won't be heading to English club Sale Sharks until next year after picking up a serious shoulder injury.
De Jager hobbled off in the first half of South Africa's 32-12 Rugby World Cup final win over England at the weekend.
According to the Rugby Pass website, the burly lock will undergo a scan on Wednesday, but the expectation is that he'll be sidelined for an extended period.
De Jager, 26, recently signed for the English club after spending three seasons at the Bulls.
Sale coach Steve Diamond told the English publication: "Lood is having a scan on Wednesday and we are probably looking at an operation and three to four months out, so we will get him in the spring by the look of things.
"There is an old saying that you don't miss what you have never had and we know we have a really good player on our hands. It will be great to have him the squad after his recovery."
De Jager was superb for the Boks in their victorious World Cup campaign where he forced his way into the starting team alongside Eben Etzebeth in the second row.
The World Cup final was his 45th Test.
Once he arrives in Manchester, De Jager will link up with a large South African contingent in Faf de Klerk, Akker van der Merwe, Jono Ross, Coenie Oosthuizen, Rohan Janse van Rensburg and Du Preez brothers Robert, Jean-Luc and Dan.
Diamond added that De Klerk, who was a star in the No 9 jersey for the Springboks at the World Cup, will be given a two-week break.
- Compiled by Herman Mostert