It could have been a 16-week lay-off
The defending Currie Cup champions, the Golden Lions, have suffered another injury setback.
Stand-in coach Johan Ackermann confirmed on Monday that star loose forward Derick Minnie will be sidelined for four to six weeks with a serious knee injury.
The absence of Minnie, who played at No.8 in the 43-20 win over the Free State Cheetahs in a Round One match at the weekend, is the only major injury concern.
Ackermann said there are the usual bumps and bruises, with a number of players who will refrain from any contact for a couple of days.
"The biggest setback is Derick Minnie," Ackermann told this website, adding that the loose forward suffered a grade two posterior cruciate ligament injury.
"It is a setback, given that the Currie Cup season is so short [just 10 weeks], but it could have been a lot worse," the Lions' mentor said.
"Given that Warren Whiteley suffered the same injury [early in the Super Rugby season] and was ruled out for four months ... so it could have been a 16-week lay-off.
"The positive is that Warren [Whiteley] just came back from his lay-offs [against the Free State Cheetahs at the weekend]. However, it still causes aggravation and reduces our depth."
Ackermann said the other issue is impressive young flank Jaco Kriel, who pulled a hamstring in training last week and will have to pass a fitness test.
Kriel would have started last week before pulling his hamstring in training. A call on him is likely to be made on Tuesday.
"Warren [Whiteley] is a specialist No.8, so he'll just slot in at the back of the scrum," Ackermann said, adding that there would be no other changes to his starting XV. They will have to make a call on a loose forward replacement on the bench and Kriel will most likely fill hat slot of he passes his fitness test.
Wing JR Esterhuizen, who took a blow to the head against the Cheetahs, underwent cognitive tests on Monday and Ackermann expects him to be cleared to play against the Sharks in Durban on Saturday.
Looking at this coming week, the Lions mentor said the Currie Cup is now almost like Super Rugby, big derbies every week.
"The Sharks will be very positive after their win in Cape Town, so it will be a tough game," he said.
Ackermann was also full of praise for the character his team showed on defence in the first half, when they only had about 30 percent possession.
"The other positive is how strong our scrum was. We lost two of the 10 line-outs on our own throw - the one a slight overthrow and the other one was an error ... we just brought Willie Britz on for his Currie Cup debut and he was excited, with a miscommunication between him and Hendrik Roodt.
"Those are minor issues we can fix."
By Jan de Koning