Eighthman Warren Whiteley has returned as captain to the Lions starting line-up for Saturday’s Super Rugby final against the Hurricanes in Wellington.
Whiteley passed a fitness test on his calf injury on Thursday to be named in the side announced by coach Johan Ackermann.
This is the only change to the side who beat the Highlanders 42-30 in the semifinal at Ellis Park, with Whiteley replacing Ruan Ackermann, who drops to the bench in the place of Steph de Witt.
“Warren’s experience is valuable to us as a team and he has sacrificed his Olympic dreams to form part of this Super Rugby experience, he is part of the team’s leadership group and has been great as captain,” said Ackermann.
Whiteley said it was a great feeling being back in the side.
“It’s really a great feeling and the medical staff had been awesome,” said Whiteley.
“I haven’t looked into the past, like the Olympics, I just wanted to give myself the best possible chance to play this weekend and now I have a job to do on the weekend,” he said.
The Hurricanes have also named their side with hooker and captain Dan Coles bracketed after missing the semifinal win against the Chiefs with a rib injury.
Lions: 15 Andries Coetzee, 14 Ruan Combrinck, 13 Lionel Mapoe, 12 Rohan Janse van Rensburg, 11 Courtnall Skosan, 10 Elton Jantjies, 9 Faf de Klerk, 8 Warren Whiteley (capt), 7 Warwick Tecklenburg, 6 Jaco Kriel, 5, Franco Mostert, 4 Andries Ferreira, 3 Julian Redelinghuys, 2 Malcolm Marx, 1 Dylon Smith
Bench: 16 Armand van der Merwe, 17 Corner Fourie, 18 Jacques van Rooyen, 19 Lourens Erasmus, 20 Ruan Ackermann, 21 Ross Cronje, 22 Howard Mnisi, 23 Jaco van der Walt
Hurricanes:15 James Marshall, 14 Cory Jane, 13 Matt Proctor, 12 Willis Halaholo, 11 Jason Woodward, 10 Beauden Barrett, 9 TJ Perenara, 8 Victor Vito, 7 Ardie Savea, 6 Brad Shields, 5 Michael Fatialofa, 4 Vaea Fifita, 3 Ben May, 2 Dane Coles (captain)/Ricky Riccitelli, 1 Loni Uhila
Bench: 16 Ricky Riccitelli/Leni Apisai, 17 Chris Eves, 18 Mike Kainga/Reggie Goodes, 19 Mark Abbott, 20 Callum Gibbins/Tony Lambourn, 21 Jamison Gibson-Park, 22 Vince Aso, 23 Julian Savea