29.5.2020 08:49 pm
Exciting times lie ahead for South African rugby, according to Ross Cronje, and the Lions will be ready regardless of who they face when play resumes.
Experienced Lions scrumhalf Ross Cronje believes it is risky to make bold statements or predictions during these uncertain times, with numerous avenues being explored for the future of the game, as voices become increasingly louder from Down Under in a push to exclude South Africa from the Super Rugby competition. Joining a group of Australasian players, former All Black flyhalf Andrew Mehrtens said recently that it made sense to push for a competition between only New Zealand and Australian sides due to travel challenges. "This virus has affected rugby big time, and only time will tell what is going to happen," said Cronje, who played 10 Tests for the Springboks in 2016. "We are going to have to wait and see, but whatever it is, the Lions will be ready for whatever competition we have to play in, as we have been there before." Due to rugby's industry savings plan, there had been a lot of player movements during a recent 21-day clause which allowed them to exit contracts. And while the game remained on hold during the global pandemic, the potential avenue of local teams moving north in search of competition had also been raised. "With so much uncertainty comes a lot of opportunity and if that doesn't excite and motivate you, I don't know what else will," said the 30-year-old Cronje, who formed part of the Lions' leadership group. "The key is to keep the players happy and create a culture that wants the players to stay at the Lions, and I believe the Lions will always be a quality side and contenders." Another potential option which had been thrown into the mix, in an attempt to relaunch the game, was to restore the Currie Cup to its former glory until the situation returned to normal. "I don't know what the future for this year is going to hold but I have been staying as fit as possible," Cronje said. "If we do get the green light I'm ready to go and I know all the Lions boys are on the same page. "We just hope government gives us the green light to keep people entertained at home."
While others were lured away during a recent three-week transfer period, Ross Cronje says he was not tempted to leave the Lions’ den.
Their relief efforts have seen them out in communities, delivering an essential service during the pandemic.
Following lengthy negotiations, it has been confirmed that Springbok star Pieter-Steph du Toit will stay in the Western Cape.
World Cup winners John Smit and Joel Stransky believe some adjustments can be expected when rugby players return to the field.
South African World Cup winner Bismarck Du Plessis penned a new two-year contract with Montpellier on Wednesday which will take him up to his 38th birthday.
Given the choice, Cheslin Kolbe says he would rather turn out for the Springboks next year than the Blitzboks.
While discussions are ongoing, a decision is expected soon as the Stormers attempt to keep Pieter-Steph du Toit in the Western Cape.
Trevor Nyakane hopes Marcel van der Merwe’s return to the Bulls will assist in managing his workload with a potential rotation plan at tightead.
Following an exodus of players during a 21-day transfer window, there is concern that domestic rugby competitions will become increasingly diluted by local stars signing lucrative deals with foreign clubs.
Multiple domestic stars took advantage of a 21-day transfer window which closed on Thursday night.
Springbok scrumhalf Faf de Klerk is enjoying his time in SA, but he is eager to get back to the UK and return to the rugby field.
Veteran utility back Gio Aplon will be joining the Bulls later this year.
Willem Alberts, who played 79 games for French giants Stade Francais, has warned of the challenges attached to an overseas move.