Whiteley leads from the front

Warren Whiteley turned in a captain's performance for the Golden Lions in their semi-final victory over the Sharks, writes BRENTON CHELIN.

Ably assisted by a dominant pack, Whiteley was a clear winner in his personal duel on Saturday. He capped off his performance with memorable try as he raced clear to score under the posts, but it was his decision-making as captain that had the greatest influence on the outcome of the match.

Whiteley managed the game well and struck up a balance between taking the points and maintaining the ascendancy that the Lions were experiencing in the scrums.

Mtembu, still finding his way as captain, seemed helpless to stem the tide as the Lions ran rampant in the first 40 minutes. However, with a quarter of the match remaining and his side trailing 23-8, his decision to go for the corner when the points were on offer seemed to play into the Lions' hands. Kyle Cooper failed to throw the ball in straight and the Sharks came away with nothing.

Both players contributed well in general play and weighed in with a try apiece but Whiteley, playing behind a dominant pack, was more prominent. He ran 77m from nine carries and even contributed with 11 tackles in defence for a solid all-round performance.

Photos: Johan Pretorius/Duif du Toit/Gallo Images