England's hopes of avoiding a series whitewash have been dealt a serious blow by the news that captain Chris Robshaw has been sidelined by injury.
The Harlequins flank, who took over the captaincy at the start of the Six Nations this year will miss the third Test in Port Elizabeth on Saturday after imaging revealed a crack in the bone of his right thumb.
Northampton Saints hooker Dylan Hartley will step in as skipper in Robshaw's absence as England look to salvage at least one Test victory from the series.
The hard-working loose forward suffered a blow in the first Test in Durban which settled down and he took a full part in training ahead of last Saturday's game. However, Robshaw took another knock in the game at Coca-Cola Park at the weekend and imaging sent to England for specialist opinion has revealed the injury.
England coach Stuart Lancaster said: "Chris, as you would imagine, is devastated. He has led us superbly in the last seven internationals and been one of our standout performers.
"But the medical advice is that he should not play and we have to trust that expert opinion. Dylan Hartley will captain the side. He has been a key part of our leadership group and I know he will step up to the task on Saturday.”
Robshaw added: “I’m absolutely gutted. I've been very proud and honoured to lead this group during the Six Nations and on this tour and it's a difficult way to end the season.
"I know the lads can raise themselves for tomorrow and Saturday and I will be doing everything I can to support them," he added.