Rugby 5.8.2013 09:00 am

Lions now look to future

ROARING BACK. Lions captain JC Janse van Rensburg celebrates during the promotion/relegation play-off, second-leg clash against the Kings at Ellis Park on Saturday.  Picture: Backpagepix

ROARING BACK. Lions captain JC Janse van Rensburg celebrates during the promotion/relegation play-off, second-leg clash against the Kings at Ellis Park on Saturday. Picture: Backpagepix

The cliché of losing the battle but winning the war rang true for the Lions following their elevation back into Super Rugby at the weekend but there’s little tangible to celebrate on the field.

Exactly like the Kings in 2012, the poor timing of the guarantee to play Super Rugby for a year means the men from Doornfontein now need to summon a frenzied recruitment effort ahead of next year.

While there’s nothing concrete yet on them seeking greener pastures, key personnel like Elton Jantjies and Franco van der Merwe’s services haven’t exactly been confirmed either.

“The process of assembling a Super Rugby squad is now going to be a top priority,” said coach Johan Ackermann.

“We couldn’t commit to a competition squad until we knew the result of these two games.

“We’d obviously worked on a Plan B as well, which was to focus on youngsters, but now we can start looking at our high profile players.

“Obviously agents will negotiate with other unions but at least now we have a bit of leverage in such a discussion too.”

Despite a nervy, occasionally error-prone performance at the weekend, Jantjies is still valued highly by the union that made him a Springbok.

“It’s naturally up to him to decide where he’ll be happy but he’s a guy I want to keep for sure,” said Ackermann.

“In fact, there’s not one player I want to lose now,” added the Lions coach.

 

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