Cape Town – Following hot on the heels of their signing of veteran prop Jannie du Plessis comes the news that the Lions are in talks with another former Springbok ahead of next year’s Super Rugby season.
The Johannesburg franchise have been hard hit by a number of departures and injuries to key players and are looking to fill the voids across the park ahead of the tournament which starts with a trip to Argentina to face the Jaguares for new coach Ivan van Rooyen on Saturday, February 1.
Apart from coach Swys de Bruin’s exit, the Lions will also be without Sylvian Mahuza, Madosh Tambwe, Ruan Combrinck, Harold Vorster, Lionel Mapoe, Nic Groom, Kwagga Smith, James Venter, Stephan Lewies, Lourens Erasmus, Malcolm Marx, Robbie Coetzee and Jacobie Adriaanse – among others – in 2020.
In addition, Hacjivah Dayimani will split his attention between Super Rugby and playing for the Blitzboks, while skipper Warren Whiteley has a long-term injury which has sidelined him from rugby for the foreseeable future.
In a ray of potential positive news, the Lions on Wednesday confirmed they are in talks with former player and 43-Test Springbok, Willem Alberts.
Alberts, now 35, began his career at the Lions before moving to the Sharks and then on to French Top 14 side Stade Francais.
Stade Francais have endured a horrid start to their 2019/20 season, which saw the recent resignation of coach and director of rugby Heyneke Meyer.
Stade Francais currently find themselves rock-bottom of the Top 14 standings, a full seven points adrift of the next lowest side – after just nine matches.
Nicknamed the “Bone Collector” for his crunching tackles and strong carries, should Alberts put pen to paper it would be a huge boost for the Lions who finished a lowly ninth in this year’s Super Rugby.
– Compiled by Garrin Lambley
— Emirates Lions (@LionsRugbyCo) November 27, 2019