EP Kings stand-in captain Steven Sykes has been ruled out of Saturday's match against the Sharks in Durban with a knee injury.
The news will come as a further blow to coach Carlos Spencer, who is already coping with the loss of regular captain Luke Watson.
Sykes, who enjoyed six successful years with the Sharks, sustained the injury in the defeat to the Free State Cheetahs at the weekend, although the duration of the injury is as yet unknown.
He will be joined on the sidelines by Lizo Gqoboka, who will spend this week with the Springboks despite suffering with a shoulder injury.
In one final blow to the already depleted Kings pack, tighthead prop Tom Botha remains doubtful for the trip. He has gone for x-rays on an injured elbow and will be re-evaluated on Wednesday.
The Kings remain rooted to the foot of the table and still in search of their first win of the competition, after seven straight defeats.
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