Lions rope in former players

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Kevin_DeKlerk Gallo Images Kevin de Klerk.

Johannesburg – Golden Lions Rugby Union president Kevin de Klerk will address former Transvaal and Lions players on Friday, informing them of the way forward for the union.

The Lions have gone through a difficult period, losing their Super Rugby status (to the Southern Kings) and suspending their Currie Cup winning coach John Mitchell. They also recently lost an arbitration case with their Super Rugby franchise partners, the Leopards and Pumas, while the future of some of the union’s biggest stars are uncertain.

A source close to the Lions revealed on Thursday that, following the voicing of concern by former players, De Klerk decided to call a meeting where the current state of affairs of the union will be discussed.

It is understood that invitations were sent out to former players and it is hoped that close to 100 former Transvaal and Lions players will attend Thursday’s meeting.

After being axed from Super Rugby, several former Lions players spoke to The Star and voiced their anger, disappointment and fear for the union’s future.

James Dalton said: “This could spell the end of the union and I wonder if they’ll recover, especially seeing that most of the players will look to go elsewhere. Which youngsters will want to go to UJ or Wits in the hope of playing for the Lions? It’s devastating.”

Another, Leon Boshoff, said: “I’m speechless. I don’t know what the future now holds for the union and rugby in this province. I feel sorry for the players. This is not their fault alone and they are the ones who are going to be paying for it.

“I just hope good rugby decisions are made going forward.”

Because Mitchell’s hearing is still ongoing and resumes next week, the matter will not be up for discussion. Everything else, however, is open for debate, including what the union is planning to do while the Super Rugby competition continues next season.

Just days after the Lions lost their Super Rugby status, Acting CEO Ruben Moggee said the union was exploring the idea of playing against a number of Europe’s best clubs in a mini competition. Some of these games would be played at Coca-Cola Park, but the Lions would also tour to Europe for certain fixtures.

It is understood the Lions are still working on securing the teams for these matches, over and above facing the local Super Rugby teams in pre-season warm-up games. – The Star

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