Whiteley almost back, Cronje in race against time

    2018-04-05 17:12

    Brenden Nel - SuperSport

    Johannesburg - Springbok scrumhalf Ross Cronje is in a race against time to be fit for the Lions’ tour of Australasia. 

    According to website, the Lions scrumhalf, who has been conspicuously absent from team line-ups and has not been mentioned by the Lions medical staff in the past few weeks, is currently struggling with a rib and knee injury and may not be fit in time to tour with the side when they head to Australia. 

    But the good news for the Lions is that their captain and talisman Warren Whiteley is inching closer to returning to the side and should be ready to tour. 

    Cronje’s box kick and partnership with Elton Jantjies has been missing in the past few weeks as the Lions have struggled to recover from three defeats in their last four matches and it now looks as if his layoff will be longer than expected. 

    At least that is what can be gathered from coach Swys de Bruin after the team didn’t send out a medical report this week detailing the injury. 

    “I was hoping Ross would be back. He has a knee and a rib. I just spoke to him and he said the rib is more sore than the knee now. He has been putting his body on the line, you guys saw that the last couple of games,” De Bruin explained. 

    “I am not sure how long he will be out for, we will have to ask the doc for a while. We will have to make that call on Sunday. We have a bye so we have a little bit of time, but we will have to bring that into consideration.” 

    Rohan Janse van Rensburg has a haematoma but should be okay to tour with the side while Whiteley is raring to go, it seems.

    “He will go on tour. It's really close, I was really hoping for this week but everything happens for a reason,” De Bruin added. 

    “And Hacjivah (Dayimani) did so well for his first game at eight. He played very well, so he is one for the future as well. He is under Warren’s mentorship and leadership so I am very excited about Hacjivah.” 

    De Bruin said he was excited about Nic Groom’s progress since arriving at the Lions this week and believes he will be an asset to the team. 

    “I’m excited about him as well, very experienced and we always need that, especially in the spine. With Warren’s injury, you wanted a nine with experience to work with Elton. Amazingly this morning I asked him ‘Nick what is the main reason you wanted to come to us, apart from the reason that we wanted him. He said he loves the character and what we stand for. The ethos of the team’. For me that was 100% the right reasons and I’m very excited about Nick joining us. 

    “In playing number 9 terms, he has the full set. He has a very good boot on him, and he reminds me - and I was very privileged years ago to coach him - of Craig Davidson. Can you remember? That nugget, tough cool-headed guy that will take on anyone and never gives in. And he can make the game quicker as well. He has the right attributes and skills for the team. “

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