Warren Whiteley will return to Johannesburg from Japan in time for the Lions’ warm-up match against the Bulls on 27 January.
Whiteley captained the Boks in their first two Tests against France last June, before scans revealed he had torn a ligament in his pelvis. He would miss the rest of the southern hemisphere season.
However, Whiteley has recently featured in two matches for the Docomo Red Hurricanes and is getting back to full fitness.
‘I had two brief conversations with him, but he is very positive,’ Lions coach Swys de Bruin told Netwerk24. ‘He played about 20 minutes before Christmas and played a full game this past weekend.’
De Bruin confirmed that a fully-fit Whiteley would regain the captaincy from Jaco Kriel.
The Lions’ first Super Rugby match is against the Sharks at Ellis Park on 17 February.
Photo: Anne Laing/HM Images