The Lions, and indeed the Springboks, will be hoping that Warren Whiteley recovers sufficiently to feature in at least one Super Rugby game before the June Tests.
The good news for the Lions is that Ross Cronje has recovered from a rib injury that kept him sidelined for two months. The scrumhalf featured in a recent game for the Golden Lions against the Valke, and is expected to play against the Brumbies at Ellis Park this Saturday.
The return date of Whiteley is less certain. It was hoped that the Lions skipper – and a strong candidate for the Bok captaincy – would be fit enough to join the Johannesburg side on their recent tour to Australasia. Whiteley was ruled out of that sojourn with a knee injury.
Lions boss Rudolf Straeuli told Netwerk24 that Whiteley has already returned to the training field. The No 8 is yet to take contact, though, and faces a race for fitness ahead of the Tests against Wales and England in June.
After hosting the Brumbies, the Lions will travel to Cape Town to tackle the Stormers. It is hoped that Whiteley will get some game time in that fixture before the Test season commences.
The Boks will head into those games without several frontline forwards. Malcolm Marx and Lood de Jager have been ruled out, while Eben Etzebeth is not expected to return until after the June series.