Johannesburg – Springboks flyhalf Elton Jantjies and lock Franco van der Merwe have signed new two-year contracts with the Lions Super Rugby team after spending last season out on loan, the players' management agency said on Wednesday.
Jantjies was loaned to the Cape Town-based Stormers after the Johannesburg-based Lions were relegated from Super Rugby in 2012. Van der Merwe went to the Durban-based Sharks.
Management agency In Touch Sports said on its official Twitter feed that Jantjies and Van der Merwe were among a group of players to re-commit to the Lions after the team won its place back in Super Rugby by beating the Southern Kings in a playoff series last month.
The 23-year-old Jantjies has played two tests for South Africa but dropped out of the Springboks squad this season after struggling for form during his time at the Stormers.
Back Lionel Mapoe, who like Van der Merwe has been called up to South Africa's squad but has no test caps, also returned to the Lions on a two-year deal after playing for the three-time Super Rugby champion Bulls last season, In Touch Sports said.
Reports in South Africa say the Lions are trying to sign prop Bees Roux on a permanent contract after he joined on a short-term deal for the domestic Currie Cup. Roux, a former Bulls player, pleaded guilty to a culpable homicide charge for beating to death a traffic policeman in the South African capital Pretoria in 2010 and was given a five-year suspended prison sentence, after which he left to play in France and Italy. – Sapa-AP