The Lions will have to look for a new captain after losing No 8 Warren Whiteley to a knee injury in their shock 38-35 Super Rugby defeat to the Blues at Ellis Park over the weekend.
“I have to go for a scan but at this stage it looks like a grade one PCL (posterior cruciate ligament),” Whiteley said after leaving the field in the 22nd minute.
“I’m walking fine and there’s no pain, it just feels a bit unstable, so the doc said maybe my PCL is a bit loose.”
Reeling from their first defeat of the Super Rugby campaign, coach Swys de Bruin admitted the early loss of the skipper had put them on the back foot, with Kwagga Smith coming on and Cyle Brink moving to No 8.
“To lose Warren was a setback,” De Bruin said.
“He is one of a kind, and a fantastic leader, but the other guys must stand up.
“Our whole spine played for the Boks, so there are a lot of leaders in the team, and they must take control. It is a game of contact, we can’t have excuses (for Whiteley’s injury).”
Having led 35-24 in the 73rd minute, after scoring their fifth try by prop Dylan Smith, the hosts were stunned by two late tries from Blues replacements Jimmy Tupou and Murphy Taramai, who scored after the hooter to snatch the win.
“We were probably a bit complacent but I don’t think it started in the last 10 minutes,” De Bruin said.
“We battled all day to protect our ball. They are a very dangerous side when it comes to turnovers.
“They are very quick on the breakdown, and at the end it was a game of margins, but we have got to close down tight games like this.
“When you are 14-3 up and later 35-24, and you lose it at the death, it’s not nice. But that’s life, and we didn’t focus on our job at hand.”
Some of the candidates to replace Whiteley as captain, ahead of their clash against the Sunwolves this weekend, included scrumhalf Ross Cronje and prop Jacques van Rooyen.