JOHANNESBURG – Despite big money offers having been made to several of the Lions’ most high profile players the union has been able to hang on to most of their star men for the 2019 Super Rugby competition.
Following on from the late Monday evening announcement that backs Elton Jantjies and Lionel Mapoe would stay at the Lions for next year’s Super Rugby competition, the union announced further contract extensions to some players on Tuesday evening and on Wednesday morning.
It was hardly surprising that Warren Whiteley and Malcolm Marx were announced to have recommitted to the Lions for the 2019 competition as both have national contracts up until the World Cup in Japan late next year.
Scrumhalf Ross Cronje, too, announced himself on the eve of the Super Rugby playoffs he had signed on to play for one more season, but it was good to hear that rising stars Aphiwe Dyantyi, Marvin Orie and Cyle Brink had shown faith in the union.
And then on Wednesday morning, the Lions released another batch of names of players who have recommitted their immediate futures to the Joburg-based outfit.
Among them are four Springboks – Ruan Combrinck, Andries Coetzee, Kwagga Smith and Courtnall Skosan – while Dylan Smith and Dillon Smit have also re-signed with the Lions.
Not available next season are Jaco Kriel, Franco Mostert, Jacques van Rooyen and Ruan Dreyer, who have all opted to play abroad.
Meanwhile, the Lions are expected to announce their Currie Cup squad on Friday, along with their coaching team. It is understood that fitness and conditioning guru Ivan “Cash” van Rooyen has been lined up to take charge of the side, with Super Rugby boss Swys de Bruin acting as a consultant.
The Lions players are still enjoying time off and will only start their preparations for the Currie Cup next week, with their first game next weekend.@jacq_west