Coastal Sharks and Springboks fly-half Patrick Lambie is unlikely to play again this year because of recurring concussion injuries, his provincial team said Tuesday.
The 26-year-old had been expected to challenge Elton Jantjies and Handre Pollard for the No. 10 jersey in the three-match Test series against France, which ended last weekend.
But a second concussion injury this year ruled him out as the resurgent Springboks completed a 3-0 whitewash over Les Bleus.
Pollard was also injured before the Tests, leaving Jantjies to play a star role as South Africa got back on the winning trail after a calamitous eight-loss 2016 season.
Lambie was sidelined by concussion in a Super Rugby clash with the Australian Waratahs this season and again during a match against fellow South African side Southern Kings.
"We are in the hands of the medical experts, but it seems unlikely that Patrick will play again this year," said Sharks chief executive and former Springboks skipper Gary Teichmann.
"It is very sad that our captain cannot play, but the matter is with the concussion experts and it looks like Patrick must take a long rest from rugby.
"We can only hope that he will fully recover after a long break, and we leave the matter in the hands of the professionals."
Lambie landed a monster penalty kick to give South Africa victory over arch foes New Zealand in Johannesburg three seasons ago -- the last time they beat the All Blacks.