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Whiteley returns to lead Lions against Sharks

Captain Warren Whiteley returns to the field following a lengthy layoff after sustaining a groin injury last season.

FILE: Lions captain Warren Whiteley (C) is tackled during the round six Super Rugby match between Melbourne Rebels and The Lions at AAMI Park in Melbourne, Australia, 20 March 2015. Picture: EPA

JOHANNESBURG- The Emirates Lions will be boosted by the return of their inspirational Captain Warren Whiteley for their opening Super Rugby match of 2018 against the Sharks at home.

Whiteley returns to the field following a lengthy layoff after sustaining a groin injury last season. The Lions were runners-up in last years Super Rugby final to the Crusaders from New Zealand and have come short at the final hurdle for the past two seasons, having also lost out to the Hurricanes in 2016.

The Springbok captain will lead a youthful side out against the Sharks. Winger Aphiwe Dyantyi will start in place of the injured Springbok Courtnall Skosan on the left wing, while prop Jacques van Rooyen will run out for the 50th time in a Lions jersey, alongside the South African Rugby Player of the Year Malcolm Marx in the front row.

Blitzboks star Kwagga Smith will wear the number six jersey in place of the injured Jaco Kriel and another youngster, Hacjivah Dayimani will provide loose forward cover and should make his Super Rugby debut on Saturday.

The Lions team to face the Sharks on Saturday is as follows:
Jacques Van Rooyen
Malcolm Marx
Ruan Dreyer
Andries Ferreira
Franco Mostert
Kwagga Smith
Cyle Brink
Warren Whiteley (C)
Ross Cronje
Elton Jantjies
Aphiwe Dyantyi
Harold Vorster
Lionel Mapoe
Sylvian Mahuza
Andries Coetzee

Reserves:
Robbie Coetzee
Dylan Smith
Jacobus Adriaanse
Marvin Orie
Marnus Schoeman
Hacjivah Dayimani
Howard Mnisi
Rohan Janse Van Rensburg