Whiteley talks up Isa
INTERVIEW: It seems Argentina's powerhouse No.8 Facundo Isa is firmly on Springbok Warren Whiteley's mind ahead of Saturday's Rugby Championship Round One clash at the Mbombela Stadium in Nelspruit. Warren Fortune reports.
Whiteley had a lot of praise for his opposite number as well as a number of other exciting players in the Argentinian side.
"Their No.9 [Martín Landajo] and No.10 [Nicolas Sanchez] are explosive runners and they got some powerful loose forwards," Whiteley told reporters in Nelspruit.
"I really rate their No.8 [Facundo Isa]. I think he is a fantastic player and he is still young. We [Lions] played against him earlier in the year and the I think their loose forwards are fantastic players.
"They got a lot of skill and talent and they have got game breakers all around the park. They got guys who can make something out of nothing and that makes them dangerous."
Whiteley believes his combination with Francois Louw and Teboho Mohoje in the Springbok back row is a well-balanced one.
"I think there is a good balance between us," Whiteley added. We are three different players - we each have individual roles and strengths, so it is quite nice.
"I haven't played much with Oupa [Teboho Mohoje] and Flo [Francois Louw], so it's an opportunity for us to gel and get to know each other and just get better as a loose forward trio."
Although much has been said about the clash of cultures between the Lions and the Springboks, Whiteley feels that his playing style will largely remain the same when he puts on the green and gold jersey.
"My role as a No.8 for the Boks is very similar to the one at the Lions.
"It is very easy for me to slot in and the same goes for Jaco [Kriel].
"Yes, Test rugby is more physical, but that is a personal battle. You need to front up.
By Warren Fortune, in Nelspruit