Liam Del Carme | 2017-05-17 17:29:28.0
Faf de Klerk of the Lions during the Super Rugby match between Emirates Lions and Cell C Sharks at Emirates Airline Park on April 01, 2017 in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Image by: Sydney Seshibedi/Gallo Images
The Lions today look set to announce the departure of their Springbok scrumhalf Faf de Klerk and one other player at the completion of this year’s Super Rugby competition.
Although De Klerk is contracted with the Lions until the end of the 2018 season‚ he has reportedly been offered a three-year R21m contract to join Sale Sharks in the English Premiership.
While the Lions were recently on tour in Australia‚ their management expressed the wish that De Klerk would honour his contract until the end of its term next year.
The player‚ however‚ was not included in Allister Coetzee’s extended Springbok training group this year and may feel he needs to make a high profile transition to northern hemisphere while his marketability allows it.
De Klerk featured in Coetzee’s team last year‚ but his time in the Green and Gold was not as effective as it was for the Lions in last year’s Super Rugby. De Klerk is yet to reach those dizzy levels this season.
Asked to comment on De Klerk’s future‚ Lions chief executive Rudolf Straeuli said on Wednesday: “I will make an announcement at the team announcement press conference (on Thursday).
“Maybe I will be in a situation to comment wider than just Faf. I anticipate maybe one other player will leave but the rest have been secured.”
That includes highly rated Bok hooker Malcolm Marx‚ although he is yet to put pen to paper.
Marx should also be in possession of a Springbok contract‚ which augments his earnings at the Lions.
After the team returned from their successful tour of Australia‚ where they won all three matches‚ Straeuli has this week been tying up loose ends.
The chief executive would have done well with the team’s retention policy if they only lose two of their highly in-demand players for next season.
His team went to the Super Rugby final last year and several players were elevated to a brightly lit stage with the Springboks.
This year the Lions have lost just one match and given the interest shown from the northern hemisphere‚ they would do well to retain the core of their squad.
Straeuli will hope this week’s contract negotiations don’t prove a distraction leading up to Saturday’s Super Rugby clash against the Bulls at Ellis Park.
– TMG Digital/TMG Sport