Perth (Australia) (AFP) - Wallabies star forward David Pocock will miss the rest of the Rugby Championship after breaking his hand in Australia's win over Argentina in Perth on Saturday.
Scans on Sunday confirmed the fracture, ruling Pocock out of the Wallabies' final two Rugby Championship Tests, against South Africa in Pretoria and Argentina in London early next month.
The setback continues Pocock's wretched run with injuries during his chequered playing career, which include two knee reconstructions, ankle and calf trouble and a fractured eye socket.
Team officials said Pocock has a chance to play for the Wallabies in the third Bledisloe Test against New Zealand in Auckland on October 22.
Pocock, who is being played at No.8 this season with Michael Hooper at open-side flanker, wanted to keep going in Saturday's Test against the Pumas, but Wallabies coach Michael Cheika said he had to come off the field.
"It was quite swollen, so it was hard for him to move his hand," Cheika told reporters.
"He wanted to play through but I had to take him off."
Australia's 36-20 win over Argentina after leading 21-0 in the opening 12 minutes was Pocock's last match at home ahead of his planned 2017 sabbatical from rugby.
Sean McMahon and his Melbourne Rebels teammate Lopeti Timani are in line to take over Pocock's spot at the back of the Wallabies' scrum.
The Wallabies have a week off before travelling to Pretoria to face South Africa on October 1.
New Zealand have already secured this year's Rugby Championship title, but the battle for second spot remains open.
The Wallabies are currently second after their back-to-back home wins over South Africa and Argentina.
Cheika is expecting the Springboks to be difficult to beat in the Pretoria return match.
Australia have lost each of the six Tests they have played against the Springboks at Loftus Versfeld, including a horror 61-22 mauling in 1997.
"We have to work out a really good plan against the South Africans," Cheika said. "It will be a cauldron in Pretoria."
"We are a team that enjoys going on the road. I have been really pleased with the lads, even under fire they have been very solid.
"There is a good feeling in the camp and there always has been and that's really positive for us.
"We want to show people how motivated we are inside each individual."