Western Force have been dealt another injury blow with the announcement that David Pocock will be sidelined for at least six weeks.
The flanker ruptured a tendon in the middle finger of his left hand during Force's nine-point defeat to the Brumbies at ME Bank Stadium on Friday night and is now expected to be out until the end of the Super 14 season.
What looked to be a solid Force back row has been further decimated by the loss of number eight Richard Brown, who will join Pocock on the sidelines after dislocating his shoulder during the Brumbies clash.
The backs are in even worse shape, with Andre Pretorius ruled out for the season due to a hamstring injury, Mark Bartholomeusz absent for at least two more weeks with a neck problem, Nick Cummins still recovering from a foot injury and Cameron Shepherd sidelined for at least six weeks with damage to his thigh.
Force are in for a difficult time in their upcoming matches against Hurricanes in Wellington this Saturday and at home to the Chiefs the following weekend, with coach John Mitchell struggling to find replacement players for those injured.
"The thing that I'm annoyed more about is the number of blockages and hurdles in terms of trying to replace these players and bring in extra resources to support the group during this period," said Mitchell.
"There is just so many roadblocks occurring and we are unable to bring quality in.
"Strategically I really don't agree with the thinking and as you can see on the weekend we've always been a very good club and had a mandate of developing youngsters.
"We had two young lads (Stefano Hunt and Mitch Inman) on the bench who are probably still a year or two away from this level of football.
"We're in this situation again and I just think that it's unfair on the team and players at Super 14 level to be experiencing this kind of situation. I'm not prepared to go into detail as such, but it's clear where that's coming from and that is the thing that annoys me the most."