Lions captain Warren Whiteley’s return from injury is back on ice after he felt a "click" in his troublesome knee.
The 2017 Bok captain, who had been named in the Lions’ squad for their tour to Australasia‚ has injured the same knee that suffered cruciate ligament damage against the Blues at the beginning of March.
"The knee swelled up overnight and he doesn’t feel comfortable with it‚" said Lions team doctor Rob Collins.
As a precaution Whiteley had a scan and saw an orthopedic surgeon on Tuesday.
"Depending what it shows‚ and I don’t think it is anything to be too worried about‚ he will join us a bit later," said Collins.
"When we examined him we couldn’t find anything in the knee that we are worried about. It is unlikely to be something that will keep him out for an extended period."
If the injury is not serious Whiteley will travel across the Indian Ocean at a later stage.
"The plan was that he would fly with us, but now we just have to adapt‚" said coach Swys de Bruin. "It is a blow. He is Captain Fantastic.
"The reality is we’ve got faith in the guys slotting in. We are backing our squad system."
With Whiteley still out, Hacjivah Dayimani will keep possession of the No8 jersey for Friday’s clash against the Waratahs. "Hacjivah showed in the last few games that he’s up to it‚ for whatever the fight is‚" said De Bruin.
Springbok scrumhalf Ross Cronjé has had rib and knee injuries and has failed to regain fitness, His place has gone to former Stormer Nic Groom, who recently joined the Lions from Northampton.
The only other regular scrumhalf in the touring group is Dillon Smit‚ but fullback Andries Coetzee has also played in that position with distinction. Smit will start against the Waratahs.
Wing Aphiwe Dyantyi has a pectoral muscle injury and was not named in the touring squad‚ but Rohan Janse van Rensburg and Cyle Brink are over their recent knocks.
De Bruin knows the Lions will have their work cut out to deliver another unblemished record on tour.
In 2017 they won all three matches in Australia and were spared a trip to New Zealand.
"We take it week by week. Last year we had what you could perhaps call an easy tour.
"We played three games in Australia, of which one was in Perth, which is not far off. This time it is a lot more challenging. There is an extra two hours when you go from Australia to New Zealand.
"We could have gone last Friday or on Saturday but we figured if we go as late as possible for a Friday night game we can stay in our time zone as far as possible. After that we’ll have to adapt for the Reds game."
After Friday they play the Reds in Brisbane and the Hurricanes in Wellington‚ before ending the tour against the Highlanders in Dunedin.
Lions team to play Waratahs: Andries Coetzee; Ruan Combrinck‚ Lionel Mapoe‚ Harold Vorster‚ Madosh Tambwe; Elton Jantjies‚ Dillon Smit; Hacjivah Dayimani‚ Franco Mostert‚ Kwagga Smith; Marvin Orie‚ Andries Ferreira; Ruan Dreyer‚ Malcolm Marx‚ Jacques van Rooyen. Replacements: Robbie Coetzee‚ Dylan Smith‚ Jacobie Adriaanse‚ Lourens Erasmus‚ Marnus Schoeman; Nic Groom‚ Rohan Janse van Rensburg‚ Sylvian Mahuza.