JOHANNESBURG - Springbok backs Elton Jantjies and Lionel Mapoe have opted to play for the Lions for one more season, meaning they will run out for the franchise in next year’s Super Rugby competition.
Both men were on the shopping lists of several Europe-based clubs, as well as unions locally, and were considering moving abroad, but the Lions announced on Monday they will both play for the team next season. Jantjies and Mapoe are currently training with the Springbok Rugby Championship squad and will play club rugby in Japan following their national team commitments.
Securing the services of the two experienced backs is a major coup for the Lions who have had to deal with the departure of several high-profile players this year. Props Ruan Dreyer and Jacques van Rooyen and lock Franco Mostert have recently bid the Lions farewell. Jaco Kriel, too, won’t play for the Lions again after signing for Gloucester in England where former coach Johan Ackermann is in charge.
Last year Ruan Ackermann (the former coach's son), Faf de Klerk and Jaco van der Walt said goodbye to the Lions while Warrick Tecklenburg retired, as did prop Julian Redelinghuys, who was forced to the sidelines after breaking his neck. It is still uncertain where new Bok selection, Cyle Brink, will play next year, with rumours indicating he is being sought by the Bulls.
The Lions Rugby Company can confirm that @jantjies_elton and @13LionelMapoe14 have both extended their contracts with the Lions for another year. Both are currently training with the Springboks.#LetsUnite pic.twitter.com/F3Q6DtAN1a