Johannesburg - Golden Lions flyhalf Marnitz Boshoff's dream season has come to an abrupt end because of a broken arm, but he remains optimistic looking ahead.
From a South African perspective, Boshoff has been one of the breakthrough performers of the year.
After stints at the Bulls and Griquas between 2007 and 2012, he finally found a home of opportunity at the Lions.
He made his Super Rugby debut for the Johannesburg-based team this season and went on to finish as the top South African scorer in the competition with 189 points.
His impressive performances saw him earn a call-up to the Springbok squad for the June Tests, and he came off the bench to make his international debut during South Africa's 55-6 win over Scotland in Port Elizabeth.
Boshoff was expected to spearhead a strong Lions unit in the Currie Cup, but broke his arm early in the second half during a 41-13 win over the Bulls at Ellis Park, an injury that will rule him out for the rest of the year.
The 25-year-old labelled the incident as a "freak accident".
"I was going in for a tackle, but unfortunately, my arm hit the elbow of the opposing player," Boshoff told the MyPlayers website.
"I went in for surgery on Monday, and will see a specialist on Thursday.
"But I'm definitely out for the rest of the year.
"Hopefully, I'll return to full fitness for the 2015 Super Rugby campaign.
"It's the first serious injury of my professional career, so it's very frustrating," he added.
"I was looking forward to a good Currie Cup after enjoying great form during Super Rugby.
"I had high hopes to do well for the Lions."
However, Boshoff remains optimistic from an individual and collective point of view.
He has another year to go on his current contract with the Lions, and wants to achieve future success with the team.
He also believes the Lions are making major strides forward since returning to Super Rugby this year.
"I've always been working hard as a player, but I've struggled for the right opportunities.
"The Lions have given that to me, so I'm really enjoying life in Johannesburg," said Boshoff.
"The coaches showed a lot of faith in me during Super Rugby, and that's the kind of thing I needed.
"Although I'll be out of action, I'll still be around the boys and help where I can.
"I'll be helping out the other flyhalves we have in the squad during the Currie Cup.
"Jaco van der Walt is a talented youngster, which he proved during the latter stages against the Bulls.
Ross Cronje and Andries Coetzee can also fill in at flyhalf if necessary, so we still have depth."
The Lions are seen as one of the favourites for the Currie Cup title as they enjoyed their most successful Super Rugby campaign this year.
Boshoff is confident the team can build on to this momentum.
"The key thing for us was winning those early games during Super Rugby," he explained.
"That helped build belief within the squad.
"The players grew in confidence and that showed on the field.
"We haven't lost too many players after Super Rugby, so we have a good squad competing in the Currie Cup.
"We'll be taking things week by week as we progress during the tournament.
"It's going to be a tough challenge because every match is a local derby."
The Lions tackle the EP Kings at Ellis Park on Saturday 14:30 kick-off).
15. Andries Coetzee, 14. Lionel Mapoe, 13. Stokkies Hanekom, 12. Harold Vorster, 11. Ruan Combrinck, 10. Jaco van der Walt, 9. Ross Cronje, 8. Warren Whiteley (captain), 7. Derick Minnie, 6. Jaco Kriel, 5. Franco Mostert, 4. MB Lusaseni, 3. Ruan Dreyer, 2. Robbie Coetzee, 1. Schalk van der Merwe
Substitutes: 16. Armand van der Merwe, 17. Jacques van Rooyen, 18. Willie Britz, 19. Warwick Tecklenburg, 20. Guy Cronje, 21. Kwagga Smith, 22. Howard Mnisi
15. Scott van Breda 14. Ronnie Cooke 13. Tim Whitehead 12. Shane Gates 11. Siviwe Shakes Soyizwapi 10. Gary van Aswegen 9. Tobies Botes 8. Luke Waton (captain) 7. Stefan Willemse 6. Thembelani Bholi 5. David Bulbring 4. Steven Cummins 3. Tom Botha 2. Edgar Marutllule 1. Lizo Gqoboka
Substitutes:16. Albe de Swardt 17. CJ van der Linde 18. Steven Sykes 19. Aidon Davis 20. Kevin Luiters 21. George Whitehead 22. Ntabeni Dukisa
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