Stormers captain Schalk Burger is likely to miss the opening matches in South Africa's Tri-Nations campaign - when they travel to Australasia later this month.
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It is believed Burger had fractured his thumb in the 10-29 Super Rugby semifinal loss to the Crusaders on Sunday and could be ruled out for up to six weeks.
The Crusaders continued a relentless charge towards Super Rugby glory with the comprehensive victory, but the biggest setback for South African rugby may well come in the form of Burger's injury.
He did not re-emerge after half-time and cut a disconsolate figure on the sideline.
Unconfirmed reports later said he had fractured his thumb, although the full extent of the injury will only be determined once he has gone for tests.
Stormers vice-captain Jean de Villiers admitted Burgers' loss was a big blow.
"It is a disruption, but injuries are part of the game and we need to adapt to that," De Villiers said.
"He is a massive player to lose in a game like this, but that is rugby."
The Springbok squad will gather in Cape Town next week for medical assessments and some on-field work.
That is when the full extent of Burger's injury will be revealed.
If, as expected, it is confirmed that he had indeed suffered a fractured finger, Burger could miss the trip to Australasia for the opening Tri-Nations matches later this month.
The Boks, who will have onfield training session at Florida Park - in Ravensmead, Cape Town - on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, open their Tri-Nations account against Australia in Sydney on July 23.
They then face New Zealand in Wellington a week later.
Burger could be fit again for the return matches - against the Wallabies in Durban on August 13 and the All Blacks in Port Elizabeth a week later.
The Springbok squad for the first two Tests of the Tri-Nations Series will be named next Saturday, July 9.
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