Cape Town - It doesn't get any easier for Scarra Ntubeni.
Called up to a 31-man Springbok squad in May ahead of three Tests against Ireland, the 25-year-old could not be further away from the green and gold just over three months later.
Ntubeni was eventually released from that Bok squad, and he would have to wait a little longer for a Springbok debut as Stormers team-mate Bongi Mbonambi won over Allister Coetzee and served as back-up to Adriaan Strauss.
Ntubeni also traveled with the Boks on their northern hemisphere tour in 2013, but he did not play in any of those matches.
It is cruel that he has been so close to a Test cap twice without actually getting a taste of international rugby.
But what is more cruel is that Ntubeni faces an extended period on the sidelines with an Achilles injury.
When Ntubeni was left in a heap on the Newlands turf just 12 minutes into Saturday's Currie Cup clash against the Sharks.
Ntubeni is expected to be sidelined for between six and nine months.
Coach John Dobson said after the match that Ntubeni had been in tears in the change-room.
He was to have surgery on Monday.
Ntubeni finally looked to be over the continuous calf strain that ruined his 2015 Super Rugby season and limited his participation in early 2016, but with this latest injury comes a whole new period of intense rehabilitation.
The news last week of Strauss's intentions to retire from international rugby at the end of the year would have given Ntubeni renewed hope in his never-ending quest for a Springbok jersey.
But with Malcolm Marx heavily tipped to be a Springbok soon, and with there still being a slight possibility of Bismarck du Plessis returning, Ntubeni's latest injury could not have come at a worse time.