A few weeks back, things were looking rather bleak for the Lions on the contracting front.
Faf de Klerk and Ruan Ackermann had already departed for British shores last year and by the time the men from Ellis Park had reached the knockouts of this year’s Super Rugby several other key players were moving on.
Out went Franco Mostert, Ruan Dreyer, Jacques van Rooyen, Rohan Janse van Rensburg and Jaco Kriel.
The fear was that more would follow.
However, in about a three-week period, coach Swys de Bruin’s statement that there’s still a healthy spine available for next year’s tournament has been proven correct.
The Lions on Monday night confirmed that their influential duo of Elton Jantjies and Lionel Mapoe had committed to the franchise for one more year.
It’s a definite vote of confidence in the operations and structure of the union, especially since there was high interest from Ireland for Jantjies’ services.
More importantly, it swells the number of stalwarts forming the Lions’ core.
Warren Whiteley and Malcolm Marx are on national contracts while the dynamic Kwagga Smith also extended his stay early in the year.
Recently, Cyle Brink, Andries Coetzee and Ross Cronje confirmed they’re staying.
Are the Lions in full-blown transition? Not so much.