Western Force are set to be without captain Matt Hodgson for the first eight weeks of the 2015 Super Rugby season after he suffered a hamstring injury.
The influential flanker sustained the problem in a pre-season friendly against the Asia Pacific Dragons, a game the Western Force won 38-19 in Perth.
“This is obviously disappointing for ‘Hodgo’ but we’ll take a conservative approach with his rehab to ensure he doesn’t re-injure,” Force head coach Michael Foley told sanzarrugby.com.
“In Matt’s absence, we have a number of quality back-rowers capable of stepping up, including Chris Alcock, Brynard Stander and Kane Koteka.
“With regard to the leadership of the squad, we have a standards group that will continue to provide a lead, and a captain will be appointed in due course from within that group.”
Wallaby duo Ben McCalman and Pek Cowan are expected to be the front-runners for the position.