Versatile South Africa back Francois Steyn is set to be ruled out of the rest of the Springboks' World Cup campaign after suffering a shoulder injury in Friday's 13-5 win over Samoa.
"He is 95% sure that he is on his way home and that is a big blow for us," said coach Peter de Villiers.
Steyn's long-range kicking, both from the tee and out of hand, has been a useful weapon for his side.
The 24-year-old's return home is expected to be confirmed on Saturday.
Steyn has formed a strong centre partnership with Jaque Fourie, although the Springboks also have Jean de Villiers waiting to step in.
Peter de Villiers admitted that he was still unsure of how to replace the Racing Metro player, who has scored in all four of South Africa's Pool D wins.
"I was lying awake on a replacement. What do we need really?" he said.
Steyn became the youngest player to win the World Cup after starting at centre as a 20-year-old in the 2007 final against England.
Bryan Habana, who scored the only try of the win over Samoa, and fellow winger JP Pietersen also suffered knocks but De Villiers is hopeful that both will recover in time for a possible quarter-final against Australia.