Whiteley a World Cup doubt?
INJURY UPDATE: Springbok No.8 and Lions captain Warren Whiteley looks to be in a race against time to be fit for the World Cup.
It was confirmed on Thursday that Whiteley will be sidelined for the remainder of the Lions Super Rugby campaign, because of injury.
Whiteley has only featured in four matches for the Lions in 2019 – having been hampered by injuries and health issues.
The 31-year-old’s injury problems started when he tore his pectoral muscle during the Lions 17-19 loss to the Stormers in Cape Town in February.
Whiteley returned to lead the Lions to a 23-17 victory over the Chiefs in Hamilton in April, but he then injured his knee and missed the 10-36 defeat against the Crusaders.
Whiteley made a return to the playing field once again when he led the Johannesburg based side to a 29-28 victory against the Waratahs in May.
However, he had still not managed to recover from the knee injury and the severe pain kept him out of the Lions next two games against the Highlanders and the Sharks.
To make matters worse for Whiteley he has been suffering from kidney stones and he is getting rest at home and being treated for the kidney stones to naturally pass.
Whiteley will not feature for the Lions during their Super Rugby Round 16 match against the Stormers in Johannesburg on Saturday.
The Lions have three regular season matches remaining and if they go all the way to the final in July they will play a maximum of six matches.
Speaking to reporters at the Lions team announcement in Johannesburg on Thursday, coach Swys De Bruin explained that Whiteley will not take to the field for the remainder of the season.
“He [Whiteley] will be out for the rest of Super Rugby,” De Bruin said.
The World Cup gets underway in September – with the Springboks opening their campaign with a match against the All Blacks on September 21.
However, before then South Africa will have five Test matches to prepare for the global showpiece.
The Rugby Championship gets underway in July – with the Springboks’ first match coming against Australia on July 20.
They then play New Zealand on July 27, before the Boks play Argentina home and away on the August 10 and August 17.
The Springboks’ final match before the World Cup is a warm-up game against Japan on September 6.
De Bruin did nothing to allay fears over Whiteley when he added that he is unable to put a time-frame on when Whiteley should be able to return to fitness – with the final call resting with the doctors who are treating Whiteley.
“The doctors will decide exactly how long he [Whiteley] will be out for,” De Bruin said.
By Josh Isaacson