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Rugby | Vodacom Super Rugby

Warren Whiteley © Getty Images

Whiteley back but no Cronje, Dyantyi for Lions



Warren Whiteley is back to lead the Emirates Lions into battle as they depart on Tuesday for their four-week Vodacom Super Rugby tour of Australia and New Zealand, but there is no sign of winger Aphiwe Dyantyi or Springbok scrumhalf Ross Cronje.

Whiteley suffered a grade 2 PCL injury a month ago, and has been missing from action ever since, so his return will be a welcome boost to the Lions squad who are looking to build on their early season form in their month overseas.

The Springbok captain will lead an experienced squad, albeit one which has been hit by the loss of the two stars for the tour, with both expected to be ready when the team returns from the tour in the middle of May.

Cronje has a rib injury and, despite assurances that he would be okay for the tour, the absence of his name from the list obviously means he hasn’t recovered in time for the trip, and it was decided to leave him to recover in South Africa.

Ditto for Dyantyi, who had an incredible introduction to Super Rugby but tore a pectoral muscle the week before the Crusaders game. Dyantyi has also not recovered in time and will continue his rehab in South Africa.

Cronje’s injury has opened the door for Nic Groom, who the Lions signed from the Northampton Saints a few weeks back, to be included in the squad and it is expected that he will make his debut against the Waratahs on Friday in the opening tour game.

The Lions also have a wealth of international experience, including Springbok winger Ruan Combrinck, hookers Malcolm Marx and Robbie Coetzee, fullback Andries Coetze, prop Ruan Dreyer, midfielders Lionel Mapoe and Rohan Janse van Rensburg, flyhalf Elton Jantjies and lock Franco Mostert in their tour squad.



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