The Lions suffered a monster blow on Monday afternoon when it was announced that powerhouse loose forward Vincent Tshituka would be joining the Sharks on a three year contract.
The Sharks made the announcement on Twitter, confirming that the Democratic Republic of Congo born 23-year-old would be making the move to Durban, after it had been hinted in a story by Rapport earlier this year.
It comes hot on the heels of the Sharks signing former Lions centre Rohan Janse van Rensburg last week, with the franchise building an impressive squad for next season.
For the Lions it is a huge setback as they lose arguably their most impressive player this season, with Tshituka having racked up a number of man-of-the-match awards for the team during a fantastic United Rugby Championship campaign.
The Lions have already lost captain Burger Odendaal to English Premiership side Wasps, while there have been rumours that centre Wandisile Simelane could be on his way to the Bulls.
These are hammer blows to a union without much depth and that has struggled to draw premier talent to the team, usually having to build them up from the youth levels, after which they are inevitably picked up by the ‘bigger’ unions.
Tshituka’s position may now be filled by his younger brother Emmanuel, who has impressed recently and has forced his way into the main URC squad with some impressive performances.
The Lions however will be once again relying on their youngsters to make the step up, until they themselves get snapped up.