Whiteley to return for final?

Date published: August 2 2016

JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA - JULY 23: Warren Whiteley of the Lions and Johan Ackermann (Coach) during the Super Rugby match between the Emirates Lions and Crusaders at Emirates Airline Park on July 23, 2016 in Johannesburg, South Africa. (Photo by Lee Warren/Gallo Images)

The Lions have been handed a major boost with the news that their captain Warren Whiteley is set to play in Saturday’s final against the Hurricanes.

Whiteley missed last week’s semi-final win over the Highlanders in Johannesburg with a calf strain but Lions head coach Johan Ackermann is impressed with his recovery and is set to recall the Springbok number eight for the final.

The 28-year-old was cleared by the Lions medical staff to travel to Wellington as part of a 25-man squad but there is still some uncertainty on his availability for the final.

Ackermann will decide on Thursday whether to include Whiteley in his matchday squad but he must be 100 percent fit to ensure he gets game-time this weekend.

“Warren was cleared by the medical team on Sunday,” Ackermann told Supersport.

“The medical team were happy with his power and the injury and while we only had a walk-through of our game plan on the field today to get out of the hotel, Warren stayed behind and did a session with the physio where he ran as part of the rehabilitation process.”

Ackermann said Whiteley would be given as much time as possible to prove his fitness.

“We have two days to make a final decision and we will make that after our final training session but at the moment it looks good that he could be in the final 23,” he added.

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