Cape Town – With Warren Whiteley expected to remain on Springbok duty, the Golden Lions have appointed flank Jaco Kriel as captain for the upcoming Currie Cup.
Whiteley, who led the Lions with aplomb in their impressive 2015 Super Rugby campaign, is part of Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer’s squad and currently unavailable for provincial duty.
Should Whiteley crack the nod for Meyer’s Rugby World Cup squad later this year, he would be unavailable for the duration of the Currie Cup.
The Lions have therefore officially named Kriel as their captain for the competition.
However, should Whiteley not form part of the final World Cup touring party, he could return to lead the team in the Currie Cup.
“Jaco is officially the Currie Cup captain but this situation may be reassessed if Warren Whiteley does return to the squad,” a spokesperson for the union told Sport24 on Tuesday.
Kriel, 25, was a standout performer for the Lions in Super Rugby and many pundits feel he was unlucky not to be part of the Springbok set-up this year.
He will lead the team this Friday when they tackle the Sharks in a friendly at the Woodburn Stadium in Pietermaritzburg.
Head coach Johan Ackermann on Tuesday named a 29-man squad to travel to KwaZulu-Natal.
The Lions will be without three key players for the trip, as loose forward Derick Minnie has been ruled out for the season with a knee injury.
Hooker Robbie Coetzee is also out for two weeks with a hamstring injury, while fullback Andries Coetzee is sidelined for eight weeks with a foot injury.
The Lions start their Currie Cup campaign away to the Eastern Province Kings in Port Elizabeth on Saturday, August 8.
The travelling Golden Lions squad is as follows:
Justin Ackerman, Fabian Booysen, Marnitz Boshoff, Ruan Combrinck, Ross Cronje, Stephan de Wit, Ruan Dreyer, Lourens Erasmus, Stokkies Hanekom, Alwyn Hollenbach, Lohan Jacobs, Jaco Kriel (captain), Ruaan Lerm, MB Lusaseni, Malcolm Marx, Sampie Mastriet, Howard Mnisi, Martin Muller, Jacques Nel, Mark Pretorius, Julian Redelinghuys, Ricky Schroeder, Courtnall Skosan, Kwagga Smith, Jaco van der Walt, Jacques van Rooyen, Anthony Volmink, Harold Vorster, Vainon Willis
Injured players unavailable for selection:
Robbie Coetzee (hamstring – 2 weeks), Andries Coetzee (foot – 8 weeks), Derick Minnie (knee – out for the season).