Force captain Matt Hodgson has been ruled out of the first two months of the Vodacom Super Rugby season.
The flanker, who led the Force to the verge of the play-offs in 2014, tore his hamstring during his side's win against the Asia Pacific Dragons at the weekend.
Force coach Michael Foley is hopeful Hodgson will return after their bye in week eight for the match with the Cheetahs 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,' said Foley. '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.'
Backup openside flanker Chris Alcock is expected to start in the No 7 jersey in Hodgson’s absence, while South African-born Brynard Stander is another option available to Foley.
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