Losing captain Warren Whiteley is the latest blow to a Lions side that is already at long odds to beat the Crusaders in Christchurch on Friday night.
Athletic No 8 Whiteley has been withdrawn from the side to play in the re-run of the 2018 Super Rugby final because he failed a fitness test at the captain’s run on Thursday. Whiteley has been replaced by Kwagga Smith, who has been transferred from the flank. Marnus Schoeman will start in place of Smith on the side of the scrum, and his place on the bench has been filled by Hacjivah Dayimani.
The Lions, who were already unable to select powerful Springboks hooker Malcolm Marx because he had returned to South Africa, would have cherished having Whiteley in the pack as they attempt to avenge their 37-18 defeat in the final at Christchurch Stadium last year.
Last weekend the Lions upset the Chiefs in Hamilton, with Marx and Whiteley proving to be valuable contributors to the memorable victory. This followed the news that earlier in the week the squad was forced to farewell coach Swys de Bruin because he had returned to South Africa due to health problems. It has been reported that de Bruin was on stress leave in the wake of a string of losses by his team.
The Lions have qualified for the last three Super Rugby finals, losing all of them. They lost to the Hurricanes in 2016, and were beaten by the Crusaders when the final was played in Johannesburg and Christchurch in the following years.
Source link : https://www.stuff.co.nz/sport/rugby/super-rugby/112286838/super-rugby-lions-chances-of-beating-crusaders-plummet-following-withdrawal-of-warren-whiteley
Publish date : 2019-04-26 05:04:00