The Lions are waiting anxiously for clarity on the severity of loose forward Albertus Smiths’ injury.
The 25-year-old Smith limped off with a hamstring injury in the 26th minute of the Lions 17-37 Round 17 loss the Hurricanes in Johannesburg on Saturday.
The Lions remained third in the South African conference and sixth overall, despite the heavy hammering they suffered at the hands of their New Zealand rivals.
The Johannesburg-based side plays the Bulls – one place and point (36 versus 35) ahead of them, both in the conference (second) and global (fifth) standings – in a straight shootout Pretoria this coming Saturday.
Inspirational captain and No.8 Warren Whiteley has already been ruled out for the remained of the Lions Super Rugby season, because of injury (knee) and health (kidney stones) issues and the Lions can ill afford to lose another leader.
Speaking to reporters after the game at the weekend, Lions coach Swys de Bruin confirmed that Smith’s hamstring injury could be “serious”.
The coach added that he will only know on Monday when Smith will be available again.
“That [Smith’s] hamstring went,”De Bruin said, adding: “Kwagga will play with half a hamstring, so for him to come off it must be serious.
“Normally hamstrings, the way he came off, it is about five to six weeks, but we will only know on Monday.”
Smith has been instrumental to the Lions attacking and defensive game – contributing with seven tries and making 88 tackles out of an attempted 98 tackles in 10 matches.
De Bruin further highlighted the tremendous season which Smith has had on and off the field.
“Kwagga has had such a great season,” he said, adding: “He was really instrumental helping Malcolm with leadership after Warren went down.”
The game against the Hurricanes was still in the balance when Smith left the field.
However, the Wellington-based team dominated the breakdown in the second half and De Bruin explained that losing Smith was a big blow.
“Kwagga was in control and when he went we had to really dig deep.
“I knew all week they [the Hurricanes] were going to come at the breakdown and they were very good at the breakdown. In fact, they killed us there,” De Bruin said.
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