The Witness - - SPORT -

SPRING­BOK cap­tain War­ren Whiteley was ruled out of their end­of­year tour of Europe yes­ter­day after doc­tors said his groin in­jury would take two more months to heal.

Eben Etze­beth will lead the Spring­boks in his ab­sence in tests against Ire­land, France, Italy and Wales in Novem­ber and De­cem­ber, SA Rugby said.

Whiteley was in­jured in the buildup to the last test against France in June’s three­match se­ries and missed the en­tire Rugby Cham­pi­onship.

He had been ini­tially ex­pected to re­turn for the fi­nal games of the an­nual south­ern hemi­sphere cham­pi­onship, but is now set to be fit be­fore the start of the next year’s Su­per Rugby sea­son in Fe­bru­ary.

South Africa will also have to do with­out French­based loose for­ward Duane Ver­meulen, who is still re­cov­er­ing from surgery on a groin in­jury, and the Li­ons duo of flanker Jaco Kriel and wing Ruan Com­brinck, who both un­der­went shoul­der surgery in re­cent weeks.

Storm­ers prop Frans Mal­herbe, who has a long­term neck in­jury, is also out.

Prop Coe­nie Oosthuizen, who suf­fered a frac­tured arm against Aus­tralia in Perth at the be­gin­ning of Septem­ber, is avail­able, as is num­ber eight Uzair Cassiem, who sus­tained a rib in­jury against the Wal­la­bies two weeks ago in Bloem­fontein.

The Spring­bok squad will be con­firmed on Oc­to­ber 29, the day after the Cur­rie Cup fi­nal brings the do­mes­tic sea­son to a close.

South Africa take on Ire­land in Dublin on Novem­ber 11, then France in Paris one week later, fol­lowed by Italy in Padova on Novem­ber 25 and Wales in Cardiff on De­cem­ber 2.

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