Will Alberts be returning to the Lions?
Alberts is the latest big name player to pop up on the Lions’ shopping list following confirmation by the franchise on Tuesday that 37-year-old Test tighthead prop Du Plessis had signed on for the 2020 Super Rugby campaign. He had been playing at Montpellier in France since 2015.
At 35, Alberts is also no spring chicken, but if the Lions did manage to sign him from Stade Francais, where he has been playing since 2015, it would be another big coup for the Lions.
Alberts grew up in Johannesburg and knows the Lions well, having played over 50 Super Rugby games for them before moving to the Sharks in 2010. He also featured for the Boks on 43 occasions between 2010 and 2016.
The Lions have been shorn of loose-forward experience ever since Warwick Tecklenburg retired and Jaco Kriel and Ruan Ackermann moved abroad.
Regular No 8 and captain Warren Whiteley is also doubtful for next year’s Super Rugby campaign as he is struggling to shake off a knee injury.
Also, the Lions lost James Venter to the Sharks at the end of last season, while Robert Kruger and Kwagga Smith (Japan) are also no longer be available for the Lions.
Alberts - affectionately known as the “Bone Collector” because of his hard tackling - has a wealth of experience and can play anywhere in the back row and in the locks.
His 120kg 1.92m frame makes him an extremely valuable player.
Besides Du Plessis, the Lions have already also signed tighhead prop Carlu Sadie (Stormers), centre Dan Kriel (Stormers), flank Roelof Smit (Bulls), flank Francke Horn (WP Under-21), flyhalf James Mollentze (Free State U21), wing Duncan Matthews (Bulls) and wing Jamba Ulengo (Free State).
The Lions, under new coach Ivan van Rooyen, are currently in camp in Secunda, where they are busy with their pre-season programme.
They begin their 2020 Super Rugby challenge against the Jaguares in Argentina on February 1.