Jean De Villiers is out of action for eight weeks.
The Springboks will be without skipper Jean de Villiers for the two Test Castle Lager Series against Wales next month.
The Stormers centre underwent surgery on a knee injury last weekend and will be out of action for eight weeks. He hopes to return for the start of Rugby Championship in August.
"Losing our captain is a massive setback," said Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer. "Jean has been superb as our leader on and off the field and he was in excellent form as well.
"He is a wonderful ambassador for South Africa and is respected across the world as a leader - we will certainly miss him next month. His injury is the latest in a string of setbacks we've experienced, and with Jaque Fourie also ruled out it means we'll play with a new captain and a new midfield combination next month.
"Luckily we have good depth in the squad at centre, but replacing your captain is always difficult. We have a number of good leaders in the squad, but I don't want to rush a decision on the captaincy as we still have to finalise the squad for June."
De Villiers' place in the training squad that gathered in Durban on Sunday has been taken by promising Sharks lock Stephan Lewies. The Springboks will face a World XV at Newlands before they tackle Wales on successive weekends.
"It's great to see the excitement on the faces of the players, not only the uncapped guys, but also experienced Springboks," said Meyer.
"Everyone knows this is a very important season and with 18 matches left until we depart for the Rugby World Cup, the players are keen to impress and fight for positions in the squad. Our focus for now, however, is on the World XV match and ensuring we start the season on a positive note."
Nearly 40 players were involved in the first Wales Under 18 training session of the season. WRU National Performance Manager Gethin Watts is excited at the potential shown by the group and expects the Regional Under 18 Championship to hone their skills even further.