Pretoria News - - SPORT & RACING -

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 Spring­boks’ Novem­ber 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 on tour. The pop­u­lar cap­tain 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. The Boks said yes­ter­day 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 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. Spring­bok coach Al­lis­ter Coet­zee said yes­ter­day 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, who have been side­lined with a bro­ken arm and rib in­jury re­spec­tively, are in line to tour with their team­mates. Also, Frans Mal­herbe and Jaco Kriel will only be avail­able again next year af­ter suf­fer­ing neck and shoul­der in­juries, re­spec­tively, while Duane Ver­meulen (groin) and Ruan Com­brinck (shoul­der) will also not play for the Boks any­time soon. – JAC­QUES VAN DER WESTHUYZEN

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