The Southern Kings will have to find a new captain for Saturday’s Super Rugby showdown against the Lions after inspirational Schalk Ferreira was ruled out of action for three months with a bicep injury.
Prop forward Ferreira, who sustained the injury when the Kings narrowly lost to the Sharks at the weekend, will be sorely missed.
The Kings will line up against the Lions at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium on Saturday (kickoff 3.05pm)
Kings head coach Deon Davids said: “Obviously, this is not something we wanted at this stage, but we wish Schalk all the best. He is possibly out for the rest of the season.
“Luckily, we have players who can play at loosehead and tighthead prop. Players like Chris Heiberg and Justin Forwood. Dyan van der Westhuizen is also busy coming back from injury.
“At this stage, I think we are reasonably OK at prop.”
Flyhalf Lionel Cronje has filled the role of vicecaptain this season and it will be interesting to see whether Davids promotes the pivot.
“We have a couple of options for captain in players like Lionel Cronje, Ruan Lerm, Michael Willemse and Ross Geldenhuys. They are all candidates at this stage,” he said.
After four rounds of the competition, is it not known whether Davids will consider rotating his players.
After the good momentum gained against the Sharks, the coach may be wary of making rotational changes.
Centre Luzuko Vulindlu, who sustained a concussion against the Stormers, has made good progress and is undergoing the return to play protocol.
Team doctor Konrad von Hagen is also pleased with the progress being made by the players who are on the long-term injury list.
Flanker CJ Velleman (knee) is on track to making a return to action next month.
Lock Cameron Lindsay (knee) and scrumhalf Rudi van Rooyen (ankle) are also making good progress with their recovery.
Davids said his side were looking forward to facing the Lions.
“We have a lot of positives to work on after the Sharks game. We will just continue to try and improve every week,” he said.
The Lions have injury problems of their own and will be without utility back Jaco van der Walt‚ prop Johannes Jonker and centre Lionel Mapoe.
Van der Walt injured an ankle‚ Jonker got a knock to the head and left the field with his neck in a brace‚ while Mapoe has a suspected broken hand.
The Kings will name their team tomorrow.