Whiteley cleared to lead Lions
TEAM ANNOUNCEMENT: Warren Whiteley has been cleared to lead Lions in their first ever home Super Rugby quarterfinal against the Crusaders on Saturday.
Whiteley, who injured his shoulder in the June Tests against Ireland, was expected to be sidelined for the rest of the season.
However, he made a faster than expected recovery and has been named captain of the side.
The Lions’ position on the log is the highest it has ever been since Super Rugby turned professional.
The Lions, then Transvaal, finished joint first with Auckland in the inaugural Super 10, when they beat the All Black-laden New Zealand outfit in the Final in 1993.
Two years later, when Transvaal lost in the Final to Queensland, they finished second in the standings.
When the Lions were part of the Cats - with fellow South African side the Cheetahs - they finished third in 2001 (losing to the Sharks in the semifinal) and in 2000 fourth (losing to the Brumbies in the semifinal), while in 1997 they ended in the fifth position on the log.
Lions coach Johan Ackermann has the privilege of fielding eight Springboks, which include the halfback paring of Francois de Klerk and Elton Jantjies. While Lionel Mapoe and Ruan Combrink will also relish the change to go up against seven-time champion Crusaders.
Lions:15 Andries Coetzee, 14 Ruan Combrinck, 13 Lionel Mapoe, 12 Rohan Janse Van Rensburg, 11 Courtnal Skosan, 10 Elton Jantjies, 9 Francios De Klerk, 8 Warren Whiteley (captain), 7 Warwick Tecklenburg, 6 Jaco Kriel, 5 Franco Mostert, 4 Andries Ferreira, 3 Julian Redelinghuys, 2 Malcolm Marx, 1 Dylon Smith.
Replacements: 16 Armand Van Der Merwe, 17 Corne Fourie, 18 Jacques Van Rooyen, 19 Ruan Ackermann, 20 Cyle Brink, 21 Ross Cronje, 22 Howard Mnisi, 23 Jaco Van Der Walt/Sylvian Mahuza.
Date: Saturday, July 23
Venue: Ellis Park, Johannesburg
Kick-off: 16.30 (14.30 GMT; 02:30 Sunday, July 24 NZ time)
Referee: Craig Joubert (South Africa)
Assistant referees: Marius van der Westhuizen (South Africa), Rasta Rasivhenge (South Africa)
TMO: Marius Jonker (South Africa)