The Lions' hopes of securing a Test series victory in New Zealand suffered a devastating blow when inspirational number eight Lawrence Dallaglio was ruled out of the tour with a fractured ankle.
The former England captain was stretchered from the field in the first half of the Lions' 34-20 victory over Bay of Plenty after he had been caught awkwardly under a pile of bodies.
Dallaglio, who will be replaced in the squad by Irish loose-forward Simon Easterby, spent the night in a Rotorua hospital nursing not only a badly injured ankle but the heartbreak of having his second successive Lions tour wrecked by injury.
"He is out for the trip and I am gutted for Lawrence," said Lions head coach Sir Clive Woodward.
"Since we both stepped down from the England team all we have been talking about is the Lions. I have never seen him in better shape physically or mentally. I am very sad for him."
Four years ago Dallaglio went to Australia harbouring grave doubts over his fitness and the gamble did not pay off as he was forced home for a knee reconstruction.
But this time round must be harder to bear. Dallaglio was in peak form and primed to be the driving force of the Lions bid for Test glory in New Zealand.
"He is a world class player and clearly we are going to miss him," said Woodward.
"He is one of our key players. All the players have enjoyed his company, they have enjoyed being with him.
"I have been talking to Lawrence about the Lions for the last 12 months, planning the whole thing. I am gutted. But we have to move on and not let it affect us.
"You can't dwell on it. The Taranaki game is under way now in our preparation."
As head coach Stuart Lancaster polishes the axe he will soon wield over his World Cup training squad, Exeter Chiefs coach Rob Baxter has backed Jack Nowell, Henry Slade and Luke Cowan-Dickie to be given a stay of execution.
Italy Under-20s held off a late Samoa blitz to retain their place in the World Rugby U20 Championship on Saturday and head coach Alessandro Troncon believes the experience will have served as a valuable lesson for his young troops.