Australia captain Stirling Mortlock could miss the rest of the Tri-Nations due to a serious knee injury.
The Wallabies have lost their opening two games and their campaign takes a further knock with news that Mortlock has torn cartilage in his knee.
The Australia centre was on crutches after Saturday’s loss to the Springboks, and although he is set for more medical tests, he’s unlikely to be back for the 22 August fixture against New Zealand in Sydney.
Coach Robbie Deans said he may replace Mortlock with teenage utility back James O’Connor. The 19-year-old is likely to slot in at fullback with Adam Ashley-Cooper taking Mortlock’s place at No 13.