Johannesburg - Prop Coenie Oosthuizen's injury-enforced absence from the rest of the Test series against England is a major blow for the Springboks, forwards coach Johann van Graan said on Tuesday.
Oosthuizen has a mildly bulging disc in his neck, according to team doctor Craig Roberts, and will be out of action for between two and three months.
"Coenie is still a young player and has a long career ahead of him and needs to be managed appropriately," Roberts said. "We will follow a conservative approach with him."
The 23-year-old Oosthuizen made his debut off the bench in the first Test against England in Durban and Van Graan said he had made an impact.
"He showed in the first Test what he can do and his injury is a big loss for us, especially since he can play both tighthead and loosehead.
“I thought he had an unbelievable Super Rugby season so we are very sad for him," Van Graan told reporters.
England, who lost the opening Test in Durban 22-17, need to get their momentum back, assistant coach Simon Hardy said ahead of Wednesday's match against a Southern SA Barbarians team.
"We were disappointed with Saturday and we've reflected and had our review but, like all good sides, we know we're on the path to somewhere," Hardy told a news conference.
"We learn from our disappointments and move on, we don't encourage the players to dwell on their mistakes. We've had a loss so now we need to get the momentum back."
The second Test is at Coca-Cola Park in Johannesburg on Saturday.