Whiteley: No intentions to leave Lions!
Cape Town - Fit-again Lions No 8 Warren Whiteley says he has no intentions of leaving the franchise in the immediate future.
Whiteley was responding to the news that centre Rohan Janse van Rensburg was the latest Lions player to sign a deal with an overseas club.
Janse van Rensburg has signed a three-year deal with English club Sale Sharks and the announcement leaves the total number of players the Lions have lost this Super Rugby season at four.
Highly-rated prop Ruan Dreyer and lock Franco Mostert announced back in May that they would be joining former coach Johan Ackermann at Gloucester, with that news coming almost a month after flank Jaco Kriel confirmed that he was making the same move.
Hooker Akker van der Merwe also made his way to the Sharks in the off-season, while Faf de Klerk (Wasps) and Ruan Ackermann (Gloucester) left for England.
And with Elton Jantjies and Andries Coetzee both heavily linked with moves to France, the title-challenging Lions squad of 2016 and 2017 has very few members left.
Whiteley, however, insists he is going nowhere.
“At this stage of my career, where I’m at 30 years of age, I want to stay right here and the motivation to play for the Springboks is keeping me in South Africa,” Whiteley told Netwerk24.
Whiteley added that it was “not an easy decision” for his team-mates to move away from the Lions.
“It’s a tough situation. We were lucky to keep the squad together for the past four or five years. It’s not something that regularly happens.”
Whiteley returned to action after a long injury layoff by playing for the Golden Lions XV against the Blue Bulls in the SuperSport Rugby Challenge this past weekend.
He is expected to be included in the Lions’ team for Saturday’s Super Rugby encounter against the Sharks in Durban (17:15 kick-off).