Springbok flyhalf Handre Pollard will return home to South Africa following a serious knee injury.
The Bok pivot will be out of action for six to nine months after tearing an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) while playing for his French club Montpellier over the weekend.
In an Instagram Live chat with RugbyRocks.com's Cato Louw, Springbok physiotherapist Rene Naylor confirmed Pollard will go under the knife back home.
"It's very sad for Handre. He would have enjoyed being back on the pitch," she said.
"He's decided to come and do his surgery and his rehabilitation in South Africa, because it's going to be a long process - at least six months before he can get onto a pitch again.
"It's disappointing that we've had a few injuries, but this is the effect of being out of rugby for a long time."
Pollard suffered a similar injury in 2016 and took a considerable time to recover.
The 26-year-old also took to Instagram on Wednesday where he thanked his followers for their support and vowed to come back stronger.
"This beautiful game we play has so many highs and brings so much joy to our hearts, but on the flip side in a second it can take you to a very deep low.
"Injuries are a part of this game we love and this is just another test of character. I am really sad that I have to leave my @mhr_officiel brothers so early in the season, I will be supporting you all the way.
"I am ready for the challenge ahead and coming out on the other side stronger than ever before.
"Thank you for every message I really appreciate it," he wrote.
The World Cup winner, who boasts 48 Tests, joined Montpellier in 2019 after seven seasons with the Bulls.
- Compiled by Sport24 staff