The mounting injury toll is forcing Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer to explore his options, which could bring long term benefits for his team.
Meyer would prefer as settled a side as possible in his first year in charge, and has made it clear that resting or rotating players is not a consideration at Test level, but with senior Boks falling by the wayside every week he is being forced to take a hard look at the depth available to him.
Bismarck du Plessis' season-ending knee injury is the latest blow, adding to the losses of experienced players like JP Pietersen and Pierre Spies, not to mention the fact that Bryan Habana's swollen ankle means he is a doubtful starter this weekend in Mendoza.
Springbok team Doctor Craig Roberts confirmed the severity of Du Plessis' injury at a media briefing on Monday evening, and added that both Habana and Andries Bekker are nursing worrying ankle injuries.
"Obviously our big loss from the weekend is Bismarck du Plessis, who injured his knee ligaments very early in the game. He has injured the inside knee ligaments, the medial collateral ligaments and his ACL ligament
"He's going to have surgery tomorrow (Tuesday) and unfortunately that will rule him out for the rest of the season as the usual rehabilitation for such an injury is up to eight months to come back from that.
"The other two players that took knocks at the weekend are Bryan Habana and Andries Bekker, who both rolled their ankles.
"At the moment we are managing them. They didn't train today and we will make an assessment on their availability later in the week," said Roberts.
Meyer tried to remain positive about the injury situation, and reasoned that it gives players like Adriaan Strauss a great opportunity to gain Test experience while it gives him a good idea of which players have a future in the Bok jersey.
"Adriaan's had a great Super Rugby tournament. He's proved himself this year as one of the top hookers in the world. He has not played for a few weeks because the Cheetahs did not reach the play-offs, but I think he was awesome on Saturday," said Meyer.
"It is going to be excellent because now he is going to get game-time hopefully through the whole year so I am looking forward to seeing what he can do, you always need players to step up if somebody gets injured and he has done that. I also thought he should be part of the leadership going forward," he added.
With so many experienced players already sidelined the potential loss of an in-form Habana would be another tough blow, but there is the hidden benefit of grooming the next generation who are likely to dominate the team in the future.
Meyer commented: "Obviously it has been a long year and there are a lot of injuries but it is probably the same for most teams.
"It will be a big blow if Bryan [Habana] can't play but I think there is enough cover and there are some great players coming forward who must use this opportunity now.
"The only way to gain experience is by playing so obviously it is a big worry but I have always said that I am confident in the guys that will take their places and I think the nice thing is that we are building a big base of cover now going forward," he said.
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