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    Whiteley: Massive honour to join Boks

    2015-04-29 12:15

    Johannesburg - Lions captain and No 8 Warren Whiteley says he’s excited to train with the Springbok squad for a second consecutive season.

    Whiteley enjoyed a dream year in 2014.

    He captained the Lions to their most successful Super Rugby season, which saw them win seven of their 16 games. He was also part of the Springbok Sevens squad that won gold medal at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Scotland.

    This form saw him receive his first Springbok call-up for the Rugby Championship.

    He made his Test debut off the bench against the Wallabies in Perth, picking up two Test caps during his first year at international level.

    Whiteley, who has been in outstanding form during Super Rugby, hopes to use this experience when he joins the Springboks for the training camps in Johannesburg (May 3-6) and Cape Town (May 31-June 3).

    “It’s a massive honour to be part of the national squad again. It’s a great opportunity for me to train and build knowledge on how things work in the Springbok structures,” Whiteley told MyPlayers.co.za.

    “I get to spend time with guys like Jean de Villiers, Schalk Burger and Victor Matfield, who have been great professionals and rugby role models for many years. Just to see Jean’s leadership style and how he motivates the players around him is amazing. To see how Schalk trains and how he approaches a Test match helps me understand how he’s been able to dominate at that level for such a long time. And to see how Victor prepares for the lineouts and the effort it requires to master his craft.

    “It’s great being able to soak up all this knowledge, which I can emulate in my own game and become a better player.”

    Whiteley forms part of a tough loose forward department, which will see him compete against experienced and talented players for spots in the final Springbok squad. These include Schalk Burger, Willem Alberts, Arno Botha, Duane Vermeulen, Pierre Spies, Teboho “Oupa” Mohoje and Marcell Coetzee. From an overseas perspective, Bath-based Francois Louw should also enter the mix at a later stage this season.

    However, Whiteley said this competition will bring out the best in him.

    “This competition definitely adds pressure, but it’s all part of the game. South Africa has always been blessed with talented loose forwards, and if you want to make a name for yourself, you need to be able to compete with the best to make the team,” said Whiteley.

    “That’s what I’ll be aiming to do. This competition will bring out the best of me at the end of the day. I hope it will help me take my game to the next level.”

    The Springbok training squads (44 each):

    Johannesburg camp (Sharks on tour) - May 3-6:

    Forwards (26): Arno Botha, Ruan Botha, Heinrich Brüssow, Schalk Burger, Nizaam Carr, Robbie Coetzee, Lood de Jager, Jacques du Plessis, Pieter-Steph du Toit, Eben Etzebeth, Dean Greyling, Steven Kitshoff, Vincent Koch, Siya Kolisi, Lappies Labuschagne, Frans Malherbe, Victor Matfield, Teboho Mohoje, Trevor Nyakane, Scarra Ntubeni, Coenie Oosthuizen, Pierre Spies, Adriaan Strauss, Marcel van der Merwe, Duane Vermeulen, Warren Whiteley

    Backs (18): Bjorn Basson, Demetri Catrakilis, Damian de Allende, Juan de Jongh, Faf de Klerk, Jean de Villiers, Cornal Hendricks, Francois Hougaard, Elton Jantjies, Jesse Kriel, Pat Lambie, Willie le Roux, Lionel Mapoe, Rudy Paige, Handré Pollard, Jan Serfontein, Kobus van Wyk, Francois Venter

    Cape Town camp (Bulls on tour) - May 31-June 3:

    Forwards (27): Willem Alberts, Ruan Botha, Heinrich Brüssow, Schalk Burger, Nizaam Carr, Marcell Coetzee, Robbie Coetzee, Lood de Jager, Bismarck du Plessis, Jannie du Plessis, Pieter-Steph du Toit, Jean Deysel, Eben Etzebeth, Lizo Gqoboka, Ryan Kankowski, Steven Kitshoff, Vincent Koch, Siya Kolisi, Frans Malherbe, Bongi Mbonambi, Teboho Mohoje, Tendai Mtawarira, Scarra Ntubeni, Coenie Oosthuizen, Michael Rhodes, Duane Vermeulen, Warren Whiteley

    Backs (17): Demetri Catrakilis, Damian de Allende, Juan de Jongh, Faf de Klerk, Jean de Villiers, Nic Groom, Cornal Hendricks, Elton Jantjies, Cheslin Kolbe, Pat Lambie, Willie le Roux, Lionel Mapoe, Lwazi Mvovo, JP Pietersen, Cobus Reinach, Kobus van Wyk, Francois Venter

    For more exclusive player content, check out MyPlayers.co.za

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