A left ring finger injury has ruled South Africa No 8 Pierre Spies out of the inaugural Rugby Championship (formerly Tri-Nations), a team spokesman said Tuesday.
Spies fractured a joint playing for Northern Bulls against Canterbury Crusaders in a Super 15 play-off in New Zealand last month, but the injury was not initially detected.
"Surgical correction is needed in order to prevent permanent damage. The usual rehabilitation time for these kinds of injuries is eight to 12 weeks," team doctor Craig Roberts said in a statement.
This means Spies, who made his 50th Test appearance last June against England in Port Elizabeth, will take no part in a competition that finishes on October 6 when the Springboks meet New Zealand in Soweto.
South Africa play debutants Argentina at Newlands in Cape Town this Saturday in the first round of the new southern hemisphere championship with title holders Australia and world champions New Zealand the other competitors.