South African star hooker Malcolm Marx has been ruled out of action for six weeks with a hamstring tendon tear.
He picked up the injury during the Emirates Lions' Super Rugby match against the Hurricanes in Wellington on Saturday.
The Springbok first-choice hooker left the field in the eighth minute of the match, which the Lions lost 28-19.
His participation in the Springboks' upcoming Tests against Wales on 2 June and three consecutive matches versus England on 9, 16 and 23 of June are in serious doubt.
No surgery required
The 23-year-old flew back to South Africa and underwent a scan in Johannesburg on Tuesday.
The Lions confirmed on Wednesday that Marx won't require surgery on the high-grade hamstring tendon tear.
"He does not require surgery and is not expected to recover for at least six weeks‚" the team said in a statement.
Injury Update: Emirates Lions hooker @M_marxi2 has a high grade hamstring tendon tear. He does not require surgery and is not expected to recover for at least six weeks. Marx was injured in the Vodacom Super Rugby match against the Hurricanes in Wellington over the past weekend. pic.twitter.com/xPseixUJX9— Emirates Lions (@LionsRugbyCo) 9 May 2018
With Marx out, Bok coach Rassie Erasmus will surely look to former captain Adriaan Strauss, who he'll have to get to come out of retirement to represent South Africa again.
New hookers like Ramone Samuels or Akker van der Mewe could also be considered to occupy Marx's position, as his original back-up, Bongi Mbonambi, is also sidelined.