Springboks World Cup-winning skipper Siya Kolisi could miss six weeks of the Super Rugby season after being injured Saturday playing for the Western Stormers.
The loose forward hurt his knee after being tackled by Wellington Hurricanes hooker Ricky Riccitelli in an off-the-ball incident at Newlands stadium in Cape Town.
Stormers coach John Dobson, who made a winning Super Rugby debut with a 27-0 victory, said Kolisi would definitely miss a home fixture against the Northern Bulls next Saturday.
"Siya could be out for six weeks. He took a knock to the knee and a scan will reveal how serious the injury is.
"It is a hell of a blow losing your captain midway through the first half of your opening match. Siya is an inspirational leader and means so much to the team."
Kolisi became the first black Test captain of the Springboks in June 2018, leading them to a 42-39 win over England in Johannesburg after trailing by 21 points.
He went on to skipper South Africa to a 20-point triumph against England in the Rugby World Cup final in Japan three months ago.
Kolisi was not the Stormers' only casualty in the Super Rugby season opener with a fellow World Cup winner, hooker Bongi Mbonambi, retiring injured early in the second half.
"Bongi damaged a hamstring and will also have a scan. I doubt if he will be available for our match with the Bulls," said Dobson.
Springboks' second choice scrum-half Herschel Jantjies starred for the Stormers, who went top of the combined standings after the bonus-point victory.
Springboks captain Siya Kolisi (C) scores a Super Rugby try for the Western Stormers against the Canterbury Crusaders last season