In a massive blow De Villiers will miss the entire Castle Lager Incoming Series next month after he was ruled out yesterday for approximately eight weeks with a knee injury.
“Losing our captain is a massive setback,” said Bok coach Heyneke Meyer.
The 96-Test veteran could be back by the start of Castle Lager Rugby Championship in August.
“Jean has been superb as our leader on and off the field and he was in excellent form as well,” said Meyer. “He is a wonderful ambassador for South Africa and is respected across the world as a leader – we will certainly miss him next month.”
Du Plessis however has impressed this year as skipper of the Sharks, while the other leadership candidates are veteran lock Victor Matfield and the Boks co vice-captain with Du Plessis, Cheetahs skipper and hooker Adriaan Strauss.
Strauss however was cited after Saturday’s clash against the Stormers in Cape Town and is likely to miss a portion of the Bok training camp scheduled to last until Wednesday.
The name of veteran scrumhalf Fourie du Preez will also pop out of the hat, but he is not likely to feature in all the Tests although he is available for the June Tests.
Meyer has called Sharks lock Stephan Lewies to join the camp as he believed there is more a lack of depth at lock than midfield.
The fantastic form of Stormers centre Damian de Allende will also slightly soften the blow of losing De Villiers as well as Jaque Fourie to an ankle injury.
“It’s great to see the excitement on the faces of the players, not only the uncapped guys, but also experienced Boks,” said Meyer.