THE Western Force have suffered a huge blow after it was confirmed star winger Chance Peni would likely miss the rest of the Super Rugby season.
In his first season since switching from rugby league, Peni had caught the eyes of national selectors after a red-hot start to his Super Rugby career.
But on Friday morning Force coach Dave Wessels confirmed that the 23-year-old would likely miss the rest of the season after rupturing his groin during their come-from-behind over the Kings on April 9.
"Unfortunately Chance Peni has got a ruptured groin, so there's a chance unfortunately that he doesn't play again this year," Wessels said.
"We'll keep monitoring that one."
Fortunately for the Force the outside backs positions are an area of strength for the club.
The Force currently have Wallabies rookie of the year Dane Haylett-Petty at their disposal, while Test outside back Luke Morahan returns on the wing to face the Chiefs on Saturday evening.
Curtis Rona has made steady progress since switching from the NRL and has recovered from concussion to take his place on the other wing, which sees young gun Alex Newsome drop back to the bench.
"It is (a big blow to lose Peni), but we're lucky that we're able to bring back a guy like Curtis Rona," Wessels said.
"Curtis has been very successful in the NRL and knows his way to the tryline.
"Curtis had been out with concussion and is able to come back into the starting XV, so I feel like we're quite blessed there.
"And obviously Alex Newsome's done very well and this week he'll be off the bench.
"But, again, part of that is about how we finish that last 20 minutes and Alex will be a key part of that as well."
The Force will also go into the match against the Chiefs without impressive locking duo Matt Philip (foot) and Richie Arnold (calf), regular captain Ben McCalman (shoulder) as well as scrum-half Michael Ruru (ankle).
Spring Tour squad member Jono Lance will come off the bench with Luke Burton to start in the fly-half position.