Mtembu vs Whiteley

Two players in their first year of captaincy have the opportunity to lead their respective sides into a Currie Cup final, writes BRENTON CHELIN.

Warren Whiteley has enjoyed a breakthrough year with the Golden Lions in 2014. Given the Lions captaincy duties prior to the Super Rugby season, he led a young side to their best-ever finish in the competition. He followed that up with a gold medal at the Commonwealth Games and a Springbok call-up. Now a Currie Cup final appearance beckons.

Whiteley has played a bit-part role during the Currie Cup, but the Lions have looked more assured every time he takes to the field. He's proven an astute choice of captain by Johan Ackermann. His ability at the lineout will be crucial on Saturday, giving Lions hooker Robbie Coetzee another option to combat the Sharks competing locks.

His opposite number has grown into his role throughout the campaign. Mtembu remains very raw, as a player and a captain. He has the respect of his teammates, but has struggled to manage the referee well at times during the season.

A Man of the Match performance last week at Newlands means he enters this match full of confidence, but he has been prone to overzealousness at times this season, where he ranks high among handling errors.

Both players have the ability in open play to cause trouble for the opposition, but it will ultimately be their roles as captain that will determine the outcome of this match, and the Duel of the Week.

Preview: Golden Lions v Sharks

Photo: Johan Pretorius/Duif du Toit/Gallo Images