The joy of a remarkable comeback victory over the Rebels at the weekend has been followed by a mini injury crisis for the Lions.
Not only has loose forward Kwagga Smith been ruled out for six weeks with a groin injury, they have lost two other players for lengthy periods, while fullback Andries Coetzee will also sit out Saturday’s Super Rugby clash against the Sunwolves in Singapore.
The Lions announced on Tuesday that Coetzee has a hamstring strain, while Smith is joined on the medium-term injury list by prop Dylan Smith – who will be sidelined for eight to 12 weeks with a broken cheekbone – and flank Vincent Tshituka, who is out for six weeks with an ankle problem and has concussion.
Reserve scrumhalf Dillon Smit has a hamstring injury that will keep him off the pitch for four to six weeks as well.
Coach Swys de Bruin is already without captain Warren Whiteley and Cyle Brink, which could see the likes of Hacjivah Dayimani and Robert Smith come into contention.
Smith, though, will feel particularly miffed about the situation as he is pushing hard for a place in the Springbok World Cup squad.
#InjuryReport | @SmithKwagga groin tendon injury (6 wks), Vincent Tshituka, concussion & ankle (6 wks), @Dy1Smith fractured cheek bone (8-12 wks), Dillon Smit, hamstring (4-6 wks). @AndriesC_Lions hamstring (1wk). Sylvian Mahuza & Jacobie Adriaanse back this week.#LionsPride pic.twitter.com/xSCRIKChGZ— Emirates Lions (@LionsRugbyCo) March 19, 2019
His versatility makes him an ideal squad member, and he showed how comfortable he can be at No 8 against the Rebels, scoring a try as the Lions hit back from 26-5 down to win with a last-gasp penalty by Gianni Lombard for a 36-33 triumph.
The Lions will travel to Singapore on Wednesday.
Lions v Rebels | Super Rugby 2019 Rd 5 Highlights— Super Rugby (@SuperRugby) March 16, 2019
The @LionsRugbyCo deny the @MelbourneRebels their first South African victory with an inspiring 36-33 comeback win in Johannesburg.#SuperRugby #LIOvREB pic.twitter.com/VGqbDyzQvi