PERTH, AUSTRALIA - MAY 26: Elton Jantjies of the lions kicks the ball forward during the round 14 Super Rugby match between the Western Force and the Lions at NIB Stadium on May 26, 2012 in Perth, Australia. (Photo by Paul Kane/Getty Images)

The Lions remain optimistic of retaining a place in the lucrative Super Rugby competition in 2013, and they have plenty of support, according to Golden Lions Rugby Union president Kevin de Klerk.

“I wish to again stress that myself, together with our CEO, Exco, equity partner and other stakeholders, are working extremely hard to ensure that the Lions remain in the competition in 2013 and beyond,” De Klerk said in a statement on Monday.

With the Eastern Province Kings already awarded one of five available places in next season's SA conference, the SA Rugby Union (Saru) has yet to find a solution.

Super Rugby governing body Sanzar has made it clear there will be no space for another SA team in the competition until at least 2015.

De Klerk confirmed that proposals would be discussed at the Saru general council meeting in July.

“The history and the legacy of this great union is understood and appreciated by all in South Africa,” De Klerk said.

“I am also very pleased to be receiving enormous support and encouragement in our endeavours to retain our status.”

The Lions, who finished last in the SA conference in 2010 and 2011, are lying bottom of the table in the current Super Rugby campaign with only one win from 12 matches. –Sapa