South Africa lock Bakkies Botha has been ruled out of the rugby World Cup after he suffered a fresh Achilles injury in training for his side's quarter-final against Australia.
The 32-year-old star player had said earlier this week he was "100 percent" fit to face the Wallabies in Wellington on Sunday after overcoming a chronic Achilles complaint, but was a surprise omission when the team was announced on Thursday.
Coach Peter de Villiers said the veteran lock had injured the opposite ankle when he landed awkwardly during a lineout drill and was ruled out of the match at Wellington Regional Stadium, Reuters reports.
Team officials confirmed that Botha would return to South Africa on Friday to seek treatment advice from a specialist before taking up a contract with French club Toulon in November.
"I'm very disappointed after all the hard work that has been put in over the past few months but it's not about me, it's about the team now and there's still a big job to do," Botha said.
"I told the team to cherish every moment of their time in the green and gold because you never know when it is going to be your last.
"I'll be sitting at home with my family on Sunday with a tear on my cheek as the team takes on the Wallabies. But we can't stop here - there are still three games left to play."
De Villiers said a decision on a replacement would be made if the Boks advance from the quarter-final.
Botha said despite it being his last appearance at the World Cup, he would still be available for the Springboks during his contract in France.