Why Bees is the right fit for Lions
The newly promoted Golden Lions will formally sit down with prop Jacobus Roux on Tuesday to see if they can sign him on a short-term Currie Cup contract.
Roux, better known as 'Bees', hit the headlines for all the wrong reasons in August 2010 – when he was arrested in connection with the death of a South African police officer in Pretoria.
Roux was given a five-year suspended jail sentence in 2011 over the beating to death of Tshwane metro police officer Johannes Mogale the year before.
Now, after a two-year absence he could make his return to the game in South Africa, although no formal deal has been finalised with the Golden Lions Rugby Union.
GLRU CEO Manie Booysen confirmed to this website that "informal" discussions have taken place in the last few days.
However, they will only sit down later on Tuesday to formalise an offer.
The decision to negotiate with Roux follows a major front row crisis at Ellis Park – the result of the departure of captain JC Janse van Rensburg and other injuries in the past fortnight – ahead of their opening Currie Cup encounter with the Cheetahs in Johannesburg on Saturday.
Janse van Rensburg has already departed for French team Bayonne, after helping the Lions regain their Super Rugby status at the weekend.
Tighthead prop Julian Redelinghuys will have to undergo surgery after he dislocated his thumb in the 18-23 loss to the Southern Kings at the weekend.
Veteran Bok prop CJ van der Linde returned to training last week after a lengthy injury lay-off, but has since injured his leg again.
"Johan [Ackermann] spoke to him [Roux], as he was faced with a major injury crisis in terms of his front row resources," the Lions CEO told this website.
"Bees [Jacobus Roux] has been back in South Africa for some time," Booysen said, adding: "There has been contact by the agent with Johan [Ackermann] previously. At the time [earlier this year] we opted to remain with the players we had."
Roux's agent, James Adams, confirmed that there are at least two unions interested in the player's services, adding that he is in possession of two letters from the slain policeman's [Mogale's] family that endorse Roux's return to the game in South Africa.
The Lions decided to re-open negotiations with Roux's agent following the injury crisis that developed in terms of their front row resources.
"We do have a huge problem in the front row at the moment," the GLRU boss said.
"[Tighthead prop] Julian [Redelinghuys] has a fractured hand and will be sidelined for eight weeks, [captain and loosehead prop] JC [Janse van Rensburg] departed [to French team Bayonne] and we are devoid of [quality] front row forwards.
"The Currie Cup [competition] is starting, the First Division, Under-21 and Under-19 competitions are also in full swing.
"There are just nothing [no props] in the market.
"Johan chatted to the agent at the weekend and they were all off yesterday [Monday]. The team only returned to training this [Tuesday] morning.
"I had a meeting with them this morning and we discussed the [Roux] situation.
"Nothing formal has been agreed to with Bees [Roux] at this stage. Yes, Bees is here [at Ellis Park], I have met him and he looks in good shape.
"We will look to sign him up for a short-term Currie Cup contract. The other option is a game-to-game offer, but that is also not a healthy situation. So we will look to use him for the next three months."
The Lions coach will look at Roux in training and then they will sit around a table to formalise any agreement.
Roux's agent, Adams, said the policeman's family want the public to move on from the 2010 tragedy.
"I have two letters from the family, one dated 19 September 2011 and the other was dated last Friday [August 2], where they fully endorse his return and they say they want to see him back playing professional rugby [in South Africa]," Adams told this website.
"In their words, we need to move past the issues of the past and focus on the future.
"They are big supporters of rugby and would like to see him play professional rugby."
* Roux is not the GLRU's only concern at the moment.
"We will sit around the table this afternoon and also look at our other needs," Booysen said.
"We also need to look for depth for Super Rugby next year and we have an enormous number of injuries – we are having one [injury] crisis on top of the other.
"This [Tuesday] morning we spoke about a number of possible candidates, because we also have to look at Saturday," the CEO said of the team's opening Currie Cup game against the Cheetahs.
"There are other issues also we are talking about, involving loan players.
"We have some ugly hole to fill at this stage.
"However, the big discussion will be about the future, because we have to sign these players and secure their services.
"We have been talking to the guys we want to go forward with – the core of the squad has been identified."
By Jan de Koning