Etzebeth to lead the Boks in Europe
JOHANNESBURG: Regular captain Warren Whiteley remains in a battle to recover from what the Springbok medical team are calling a “groin injury”, but it seems there is more wrong with the Lions No 8 than what experts term a “sportsman’s groin”.
Whiteley was yesterday ruled out of the Boks’ end-ofyear tour to Europe just two weeks after the squad’s doctor, Konrad von Hagen, had said the loose forward was a real option to play.
The 30-year-old hasn’t played rugby since June, when he withdrew from the third Test against France. Eben Etzebeth has captained the Boks in Whiteley’s absence, a job the lock will again fulfil when the team take on Ireland, France, Italy and Wales.
The Boks said yesterday that Whiteley “is expected to be out of action for two more months as a result of his groin injury.”
It has, however, been learned in recent days that there is more wrong with Whiteley than his suffering merely from a “sportsman’s groin” – loosely described as a hernia in his pelvic and groin region – and torn ligaments in his pelvis.
Whiteley has undergone at least one surgery to help him get over the condition which has sidelined him, but it is understood that he consulted a different specialist last week, who has re-diagnosed him. The Lions and the Boks weren’t willing to discuss Whiteley’s medical details.
For now the Bok skipper will have to continue playing the waiting game and hope to be back in action when Super Rugby starts in February next year. While Whiteley is unable to take any physical contact on the training ground and even finds it difficult to lift heavy objects, he is said to be staying fit by swimming.
Bok coach Allister Coetzee said that Etzebeth had impressed in a leadership role this season. “Eben has taken to his role of captain and it makes sense to retain him. I know he is well respected and he enjoys the respect of his peers.”
In some good news for the Boks though, prop Coenie Oosthuizen and loose forward Uzair Cassiem are in line to tour with their teammates.