Whiteley will miss Lions 2020 Super Rugby season
Former Springbok captain Warren Whiteley will miss the Lions’ 2020 Super Rugby season because of a troublesome knee injury. And, his playing career is also now seemingly hanging by a thread.
News emerged on Thursday that the regular Lions captain and No 8 had failed to recover from a knee problem, with Lions Rugby Company Chairperson Altmann Allers telling Netwerk24 that Whiteley was unlikely to play in next year’s southern hemisphere competition.
The 32-year-old Whiteley has suffered with recurring ankle and knee injuries in recent years and also missed out on pushing for a place in the 31-man Rugby World Cup squad because of the latest knee problem. He also suffered with groin and nerve issues last year.
Whiteley’s future looks to be in coaching. He told iol.co.za not too long ago that he was very passionate about getting involved in the coaching side of things and mentoring young players. He also spent this year’s Currie Cup campaign working alongside new Super Rugby head coach Ivan van Rooyen and the other assistant coaches, to get a better understanding of the game.
The Lions are currently busy with their pre-season programme, but Whiteley has been allowed to go on leave. The former three-time Super Rugby runners up (in 2016, 2017 and 2018 – under Whiteley’s leadership) will have to do without the services of Kwagga Smith and Malcolm Marx next year as both men have taken up contracts with Japanese clubs.
Wing Aphiwe Dyantyi is also facing a lengthy ban following his being found guilty of using prohibited substances earlier this season.
Other senior players to have left the Lions since last year’s Super Rugby campaign include Harold Verster, Lionel Mapoe, Nic Groom, Ruan Combrinck and Jacobie Adriaanse.
The good news is the Lions are believed to be close to signing veteran 2007 Rugby World Cup-winning tighthead, Jannie du Plessis, who has completed a four-year stint with Montpellier in France, as well as promising Stormers prop Carlu Sadie. Centre Dan Kriel, brother of Bok Jesse, has also joined the Lions from the Cape, as have the former Bulls pair of Andre Warner and Roelof Smit.