There are just weeks left of the 2013 rugby season and Elton Jantjies has yet to put pen to paper at the Golden Lions.
The union are, however, confident the Springbok flyhalf will sign on the dotted line in the coming days.
“Elton’s verbally given his commitment to us that he’s staying with the Lions. He’s happy here and we’re confident he’ll sign his contract for next year,” the Lions management said yesterday.
Jantjies, who’s earned two Springbok caps and featured for the Stormers in this year’s Super Rugby competition, is the only senior player yet to accept his contract for the 2014 season.
Other experienced players, such as Franco van der Merwe, Lionel Mapoe, Alwyn Hollenbach and current captain Derick Minnie have signed on for next year.
Also, promising young stars Marnitz Boshoff, Jacques van Rooyen, Robbie Coetzee, Chrysander Botha, Anthony Volmink, Jaco Kriel and Willie Britz are among the current Currie Cup group who will also be available for the Lions next season, which includes the team again playing Super Rugby.
New players who’ll join the side next season are Bulls youngsters Courtnal Skosan and Vainon Willis while MB Lusaseni will also join from the Leopards.
Experienced prop Bees Roux, who made his Lions debut against the Cheetahs last weekend, has yet to finalise where he will play in 2014.
The Lions have also confirmed several acquisitions at junior level with a number of players from the Lions, Bulls and Valke Craven Week teams signed up for the new season. Under-18 Griffons flyhalf and also the top individual points scorer at this year’s Craven Week, Shaun Reynolds, is also moving to Johannesburg.
Meanwhile, excitement is building ahead of this weekend’s Currie Cup match at Ellis Park where the Lions host the Bulls in a round two encounter.
Johan Ackermann’s team won the first clash at Loftus Versfeld 62-23 just a few weeks ago and they’ll be hoping for a similar performance this time around. Ackermann, though, will have to make a few changes to his side after their defeat to the Cheetahs last weekend.
The biggest loss will be among the forwards where livewire backrow player Britz will miss the game through injury.
The blond, bushy-haired No8 has a neck problem and is likely to be out of action for at least two weeks.
Young lock Ruan Venter (knee injury) is also doubtful for the Bulls game, while centre Robert de Bruyn is carrying an ankle sprain.
The good news, though, is that utility back, Chrysander Botha, is again fit and can slot in anywhere in the back three. Deon Helberg can also play in the midfield, should he be called upon to do duty at Ellis Park.
Ackermann, though, has been fairly lucky with the injury bug in the Currie Cup and by the end of the month he’ll also be able to call on scrumhalf Michael Bondesio, centres Stokkies Hanekom and Mapoe and loose forward Warren Whiteley.
The Lions go into the game just a few points off the pace-setting Western Province, but if they’re to finish in the top two in four weeks’ time to bank a home semifinal, they need to pick up another win against the Bulls.
The good news is they still have two more home games after this weekend – against the Sharks and Griquas, with a trip to Cape Town in between.
Ackermann will name his team for Saturday’s match tomorrow. - The Star