JOHANNESBURG – Inspirational Lions captain Warren Whiteley has recovered far quicker from a knee knock that ruled him out of the team’s last match, against the Crusaders in Christchurch, and he will lead the side when they host the Waratahs in a round 13 Super Rugby match at Ellis Park on Saturday.
Whiteley picked up the injury in his return match against the Chiefs in Hamilton, after being out of the game for seven weeks.
He’ll partner Kwagga Smith and also fit-again Vincent Tshituka in a new-look back row.
Cyle Brink has been left out of the match-day squad this week because of a nagging knee problem.
Lions boss Swys de Bruin said it was fantastic to have Whiteley back in charge.
“It has been another difficult season for him,” said De Bruin about Whiteley.
“He’s such a team man, and is so instrumental (for us). It’s lovely to have him back.
“I must say it’s also good to have Vincent back; he was in such good form before he got injured.
“He’s trained well recently, and is definitely a player for the future.”
Also returning for the Lions this week is Malcolm Marx, who didn’t play against the Crusaders last time out because he had to rest in accordance with national game-time management protocols, and also wing Courtnall Skosan, who left the Lions’ tour of Australasia because of personal reasons.
De Bruin has also decided to recall centre Harold Vorster, who rejoins his regular midfield partner of recent times, Lionel Mapoe.
“Harold was injured and then he lost form, but he’s keen and ready to go again,” explained De Bruin.
“Lionel Mapoe was also out of form at a stage, and just look at how well he’s playing again.”
#LIOvWAR | @WarrenWhiteley will lead the @emirates Lions when they run out to face the Waratahs in the Vodacom Super Rugby match at Emirates Airline Park on Saturday. Also back in action with Whiteley are @M_marxi2, @Skosan14 and @HaroldVorster.#LionsPride pic.twitter.com/RSJv3rUCCW— Emirates Lions (@LionsRugbyCo) May 9, 2019
On the bench, fit-again loosehead prop Dylan Smith also returns to action this week after recovering from a broken cheekbone.
The Lions are coming off a bye, while the Waratahs lost to the Bulls in Pretoria last Saturday.
Kickoff on Saturday is 3pm.
Andries Coetzee, Courtnall Skosan, Lionel Mapoe, Harold Vorster, Aphiwe Dyantyi, Elton Jantjies, Ross Cronje, Warren Whiteley (captain), Vincent Tshituka, Kwagga Smith, Marvin Orie, Stephan Lewies, Carlu Sadie, Malcolm Marx, Sti Sithole.
Bench: Jan-Henning Campher, Dylan Smith, Johannes Jonker, Wilhelm van der Sluys, Marnus Schoeman, Nic Groom, Shaun Reynolds, Tyrone Green.@jacq_west