Johannesburg - The Lions will be looking for a new captain for their match against the Sunwolves on Saturday as Springbok captain Warren Whiteley is set to be on the sidelines for around three weeks.
According to the supersport.com website, Whiteley will get confirmation on Monday from a specialist about the groin injury that kept him out of the Springboks’ third Test victory over France this past weekend.
Confirmation from sources close to the team have confirmed that Whiteley is expected to be out for three weeks but should be ready in time for the playoff matches in this year’s Super Rugby tournament.
The news will mean that coach Johan Ackermann will fall back on his senior leadership group for the re-start of the Super Rugby season and may well see Jaco Kriel take over the captaincy for the weekend.
The Lions will be buoyed by their win over the Bulls in the SuperSport Rugby Challenge this past weekend, and will have the added bonus that many of their stars performed exceptionally well for the Springboks in the three Test wins over France.
But the loss of Whiteley will plague them as they look to build up momentum in their last two games of the season before they head into the playoffs.
While Whiteley’s loss was felt at Ellis Park, Franco Mostert was close to being one of the players of the series, while Elton Jantjies showed he can settle and dominate at Test level as well as Super Rugby.
The Lions will hopefully be able to continue their momentum against the Sunwolves, hoping that the Crusaders lose a game in the last three weeks so they have a chance of making the top spot in Super Rugby and thereby home ground advantage in the playoff rounds.
Whiteley went on Monday, according to Lions officials, to have several tests - including MRI, Sonar and blood tests - with a confirmation to the public only likely on Tuesday.
But either way the Lions are set to be without their captain for the next few weeks, something that will make their target of finishing top of the log even tougher.