Whiteley, Pollard in race against time
INJURY UPDATE: Springbok captain Warren Whiteley and flyhalf Handré Pollard are both in a race against time to be fit for the opening round of the Rugby Championship.
Whiteley has been recovering a from a groin injury he aggravated in the June Tests against France, missing the third and final encounter at Ellis Park.
Pollard underwent a minor 'surgical procedure' last week and is also in a race against time to recover in time for the Boks' opening Test of the Rugby Championship - against Argentina in Port Elizabeth on August 19.
Springbok team doctor Konrad von Hagen said Whiteley will not be fit to play in the Super Rugby Final next week, should the Lions advance.
The Johannesburg-based franchise take on the Hurricanes in the semifinal, at Ellis Park this coming Saturday.
"Warren's injury requires time to heal and he will hopefully recover in time for the Rugby Championship, but at this stage we are taking it week for week in conjunction with the medical team of the Lions," Von Hagen said.
Pollard, meanwhile, is making good progress following his minor ankle procedure.
"Handré has started with some running exercises and he will continue with his gradual loading programme," Von Hagen said.
"He took part in some training sessions and did extra rehabilitation and fitness exercises.
"We will continue to monitor his progress and his return to play, on a weekly basis.
"I am also happy with the condition of the overall group."
Meanwhile Springbok coach Allister Coetzee expressed his satisfaction at the outcome of the medical and conditioning assessment camp which was held over the past four days in Stellenbosch.
Coetzee described the camp a great benefit for the Boks' upcoming Rugby Championship campaign.
"The camp was a very good exercise and I am very pleased that we have achieved all our goals," said Coetzee.
"The intervention was important because some of our players would have been out of action for up to 35 days, which is not ideal.
"The time we spent together this week gave us ample time to focus on our core skills and also our technical approach.
"We want to ensure we are rugby ready, well-conditioned and in a good mental space when the group assembles in two weeks' time in Port Elizabeth.
"The challenges of the Rugby Championship are completely different to what we faced against France in June and preparation is once again crucial to our campaign."
According to Von Hagen, the medical and conditioning team had plenty of opportunity to evaluate the medical, fitness and conditioning status of the group of 14 players during the camp.
"The get-together was an excellent opportunity for the Springbok medical and conditioning staff to assess the group of players first hand," explained Dr Von Hagen.
Players who attended the Springbok assessment camp in Stellenbosch are Handré Pollard, Lodewyk de Jager, Jan Serfontein, Rudy Paige, Lizo Gqoboka, Jesse Kriel, Trevor Nyakane (all Bulls), Uzair Cassiem, Retshegofaditswe Nché, Teboho Mohoje, Raymond Rhule, Francois Venter (all Cheetahs), Lionel Cronje (Southern Kings) and Steven Kitshoff (Stormers).