The Lions were dealt a heavy blow on Wednesday when hooker Robbie Coetzee was ruled out of rugby for the next four months.
Coetzee underwent a knee operation on Wednesday morning to repair cartilage after a knock on the knee earlier in the season.
He will be out of action for approximately four months which means he will only return towards the end of July.
When Coetzee was not included in the team’s second match on tour against the Chiefs, Lions coach Johan Ackermann said ‘Robbie is not injured, it’s just a rotation policy with Malcolm Marx starting and Akker van der Merwe coming on to the bench, we’ll probably rotate them next week again”, he said at the time.
But after Coetzee also failed to feature in the match day squads against the Highlanders and the first match back home against the Cheetahs questions had been raised about his omission which have now been answered.
The Lions, who enjoyed a bye last week, play their fifth match on Friday night at Ellis Park against the seven-time champions Crusaders. Kickoff is at 7,10pm.