JOHANNESBURG – The Golden Lions should know today whether they will be able to call on Warren Whiteley and Malcolm Marx for Saturday’s Currie Cup semi-final showdown with the Sharks in Durban.
Whiteley and Marx were essentially rested by the national body for last Friday’s final round-robin game against the Pumas in Nelspruit, but may return to action this weekend as the Currie Cup reaches the knockout stages. In Whiteley’s case a lot will depend on whether he is fit or not.
The two-time Bok Test captain didn’t feature in the home Tests against Australia and New Zealand recently because of injury, but national coach Rassie Erasmus was adamant in the week before the Test against the All Blacks that Whiteley would be ready to play in a weeks’ time. That would mean the inspirational No 8 could move into the team alongside Marx this week.
Another Bok star who didn’t feature in Nelspruit in the 33-21 win against the Pumas was Aphiwe Dyantyi, but he is almost certain to play this week; fitness dependent, of course. The Lions didn’t pick him last week, but they also didn’t give any reasons why he didn’t make the match-day squad, meaning he, too, could come into the selection mix.
Also, lock Franco Mostert didn’t play last weekend as he remains embroiled in a tug-of-war with his employers and Gloucester in England over his services. Lions CEO Rudolf Straeuli has made it clear the Bok lock is his player and if that is the case then he, too, should come into the team this week, to possibly partner fellow Bok lock Marvin Orie in the second row.
And how the Lions will want to be at full-strength for their trip to Durban as the last time they travelled to the east coast they were well beaten, going down 37-21.
The Lions will definitely be without key backs Ross Cronje and Andries Coetzee, who have both had surgery recently and are out for the rest of the year, but have been bolstered by the availability of Elton Jantjies and Lionel Mapoe.
Saturday’s semi-final kicks off at 2.30pm in Durban.