New Western Force skipper Matt Hodgson has confirmed he'll miss his side's season opener, against the Rebels in Melbourne on Friday, due to a hamstring injury.
Hodgson absence is a major setback for the Force who are already without Wallabies openside flanker David Pocock who moved to the Brumbies in the off-season.
"I ran again today, I'm pretty close but being the first game of the year I'll probably hold off for one more week so I don't miss more than one game," Hodgson told Sportal.
"It's obviously disappointing not to lead them out for the first Super Rugby game but obviously there's a lot more games to come so hopefully it's only the one game I miss."
The Force have not named their side for this weekend's clash yet but Hodgson revealed that new recruit Chad Alcock will wear the number seven jersey against the Rebels.
"We've signed Chris Alcock who will play seven on the weekend for us so we've got a good replacement there," added the Wallabies back-rower.
After finishing last in the Australian Conference and second last on the overall table in 2012, Hodgson said winning back the respect of team-mates, opponents and fans will be the major focus for the Perth-based franchise this season.
"That's something that Foles (new coach Michael Foley) and I came up with during the pre-season, to earn the respect of each other in everything we do on field and off field," he said.
"It's all about putting your team-mate first and that's really worked for us in the pre-season and the boys are really fighting and striving to make the 22 that will be picked on Friday.
"We were quite disappointed in where we ended up on the table last year so we're just really focusing on ourselves at the moment and getting our combinations right and just improving week by week and overall just improving on last year."