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The Lions will go into their crunch Super Rugby clash against the Sharks in Durban with a brittle spine. Apart from the expected absence of regular captain Warren Whiteley due to bone bruising‚ the Lions will also be without talismanic hooker Malcolm Marx and the calming influence of scrumhalf Ross Cronjé. Whiteley sits out for a second week after picking up his injury against the Waratahs‚ while Marx has to rest as prescribed by the Springbok player management plan. Cronjé has been ruled out due to an unspecified “small procedural operation” but will miss only one match. Their absence leaves a huge void in the Lions’ ranks. The leadership in the group is likely to be put to the test. The captaincy now falls to loose forward Kwagga Smith who will again wear the No 8 jersey in Whiteley’s absence. Marx’s place goes to Jan-Henning Campher‚ while Pieter Jansen comes onto the bench. It will be Campher’s first start since joining the Lions at the beginning of 2019. Cronjé’s place goes to...

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