Long-term injury for van der Merwe

The Lions lock underwent ankle surgery on Tuesday.

Veteran Lions lock Franco van der Merwe. Picture: Facebook.

JOHANNESBURG - Lions lock Franco van der Merwe has undergone surgery on his ankle and has been ruled out of action for as long as six months.

The 31-year-old sustained the injury during Saturday's clash against the Reds.

Lions president Kevin de Klerk says van der Merwe's medical report will be available by Wednesday the latest.

"Franco has sustained quite a serious injury and went under surgery today. We're not quite sure exactly how long he'll be out for."

Serious long-term injuries have been a common occurrence for many of the South African sides in the 2014 Super Rugby campaign.

De Klerk admits he has been fielding many calls from concerned Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer.

"Heyneke is in continuous contact with our union and more specifically the coaches, to ascertain the fitness and skill of certain players in our set up. He certainly will be keeping his eye on the situation."

The Lions are currently third on the Super Rugby log, with four wins from six matches.

De Klerk welcomed this weekend's break.

"This is such a tough competition and I would say the rest is most needed by the players. I think they will come back fresh next week against a formidable Crusaders side."