Rabz Maxwane faces stiff competition in the Lions’ den
Twenty-four year-old Maxwane, who has played at the Cheetahs in Bloemfontein for the last four years, is understood to have signed a deal with the Lions.
Maxwane will compete with the likes of Courtnall Skosan, Steam Pienaar, Jamba Ulengo and new recruit from the Bulls, Divan Rossouw, for a place in the Lions’ starting team when rugby gets going again following the suspension of all sport locally due to the spread of the coronavirus.
The former Dale College star’s arrival in Joburg will offset the loss of Tyrone Green, who recently opted to end his contract with the Lions and further his career in England, while the future of Aphiwe Dyantyi is uncertain following his failing a drugs test last year.
However, the Lions could be boosted further in the backs department should the rumours be true that centre Lionel Mapoe, who joined Stade Francais after last year’s Super Rugby campaign, is headed back to Joburg.
There's a new speed train heading to Jozi. pic.twitter.com/qKibOoel5z— Emirates Lions (@LionsRugbyCo) July 2, 2020
Mapoe played 108 games for the franchise between 2011 and 2019 and also earned 14 Springbok caps while wearing the red and white jersey.
Another former Lions back, wing and seven-Test Springbok Ruan Combrinck has also been mentioned in some circles as being involved in talks to swap Stade Francais, who he joined with Mapoe at this time last year, for the Lions again.
The 30-year-old played 72 Super Rugby games for the Lions from 2012 before moving to France.
And two more former Lions players have also allegedly been linked with a move back to the team they represented so well under coach Johan Ackermann - props Ruan Dreyer and Jacques van Rooyen.
Dreyer, 29, joined Gloucester a year after Ackermann took up the club’s reins in England after playing 80 Super Rugby matches for the Lions, but an achilles injury and subsequent surgery on the foot in October last year ended his season, and it is believed he is currently not affiliated with any team.
Van Rooyen also left the Lions in 2018 after playing 66 Super Rugby games, but is understood to be looking to leave Bath in England.
He may, however, be heading to Japan to take up a contract there.
Two other Lions targets are believed to be former teammates of utility back Rossouw at the Bulls, namely recent captain and centre Burger Odendaal and hooker Jaco Visagie.
While the Lions recently “lost” Green, Shaun Reynolds, Ruan Vermaak and Malcolm Marx, they also gained former stars Jaco Kriel (Gloucester) and Willem Alberts (Stade Francais), as well as veteran tighthead prop Jannie du Plessis (Montpellier).