Whiteley out, but Lions not down
The Lions will be without captain Warren Whiteley for the remainder of the Super Rugby campaign.
His franchise said yesterday that Whiteley would be sidelined with a torn ligament in his pelvis for between six and eight weeks.
That rules him out of Super Rugby action, which concludes on August 5. But Whiteley may be back in time for the Springboks' Rugby Championship opener against Argentina in Port Elizabeth on August 19.
The Bok captain missed last Saturday's third and final Test against France with what was thought to be a niggle in his groin. However, a scan revealed the full extent of the damage, but Whiteley does not require surgery.
Without him the Lions are likely to be led by flanker Jaco Kriel.
Kriel, who had recovered from a knee injury, has had little game time over the past month. He did not play in the first two Tests but played the full 80 in the third.
In-form lock Franco Mostert, who has had a heavy workload of late, may, however, be given a breather. He started all three Tests against France and out of the available 240 minutes in the series he played 211.
Hooker Malcolm Marx could also be in for a reduced role having seen 205 minutes of the action.
Fullback Andries Coetzee and wing Courtnall Skosan featured from start to finish in all the Tests, but their bodies would have been put to less orthopaedic challenge.
The Lions need to win against the Sunwolves at home on Saturday and the Sharks away on July 15 if they want to leapfrog leaders Crusaders.
lBulls coach Nollis Marais will have to make adjustments to his backline ahead of their Kings Park visit on Friday to face the Sharks.
Injured wingers Jamba Ulengo and Travis Ismaiel will miss the match and Marais is expected to name Warrick Gellant at fullback and the Springbok duo of Jan Serfontein and Jesse Kriel at Nos12 and 13 respectively at Loftus today.
Wingers Jade Stiglingh and Rabs Maxwane have also been ruled out because of injuries they suffered during the Supersport Challenge match against the Lions last week.
Handrè Pollard's return to action has been put on hold because of an ankle inflammation.
- Additional reporting by Mahlatse Mphahlele