Swys de Bruin’s men are back at home after a disappointing Australasian tour which saw them win just one game out of four.
THE return to action of Warren Whiteley could not come soon enough and it is the boost the Lions desperately need to get their Super Rugby campaign back on track.
Swys de Bruin’s men are back at home after a disappointing Australasian tour which saw them win just one game out of four. They started their tour in emphatic fashion by whipping the Waratahs in Sydney but then crashed to defeats against the Reds, Hurricanes and Highlanders.
The Lions though are still on top of the South African Conference, but with just a 50 percent win record now in the competition, they hardly look like a team that is going to make the final this year – something they did in 2016 and 2017.
With four games to go in their round-robin schedule they’ll be desperate to get back to winning ways to secure that all-important home quarter-final. And Whiteley’s return is vital to that cause.
The first choice Springbok captain has missed the majority of his team’s games after hurting his knee against the Blues way back in early March.
He was supposed to captain the team on their tour but withdrew on the eve of their departure to Australia; his knee again playing up.
Whiteley has since continued his rehabilitation under the watchful eye of sports doctors and biokineticists, with De Bruin stating it is more important that the No 8 is ready to play for the Bok next month than run out for the Lions.
But with the Test season around the corner, Bok boss Rassie Erasmus will want to see Whiteley in action, and he’s likely to get his wish in the next few rounds of Super Rugby.
JACQUES VAN DER WESTHUYZEN