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Lions rake in replacement for Tshituka

NEWS: Transfer news out of the Lions camp revealed that a promising Bulls flank and a hooker out of Japan are on their way to the Den.


It is not news that Emmanuel Tshituka will join his brother Vincent at the Sharks at the end of the season.

Flyhalf Jordan Hendrikse is also heading to the Shark Tank.

This means the Lions have to fill the void left by these two and it looks like they have found able replacements – although not all the rumours have been confirmed.

What has been confirmed is that Bulls flank WJ Steenkamp has already undergone a medical examination at Ellis Park and it is a matter of time before the Lions will confirm his move to Johannesburg.

The 23-year-old, who made his United Rugby Championship debut for the Bulls in February 2022, is a prospect with huge potential and may be the right fit to fill the boots of Tshituka.

Vying for a starting berth at the Bulls with the likes of Mpilo Gumede, Marcell Coetzee, Nizaam Carr, Cameron Hanekom and Elrigh Louw might have compounded the youngster to look beyond the Jukskei River for an alternative place to call home.


Another rumour likely to become fact soon is the signing of Franco Marais, a hooker who currently plays in Japan for the D-Rocks in Division Two.

Delving into Marais’ history indicates that he made his Super Rugby debut for the Sharks in 2014. In May 2017 he was named in the South Africa squad to face the French Barbarians, after some consistent performances for the Sharks.

In March 2018, he announced that he is joining Gloucester in the Premiership at the end of the 2018 Super Rugby season.

After making 38 appearances for the Cherry and Whites he moved to Japan where he represented Top League side the Red Hurricanes before moving to the D-Rocks.


Griquas flyhalf Lubabalo Dobela is reportedly also in the Lions’ sights.

The 26-year-old has been one of the standout performers in the domestic competitions the last two seasons and should be able to step up to the European competitions.

Reports that Cheetahs fullback Tapiwa Mafura and flank Sibabalo Qoma are also on their way to the Lions have not been confirmed.

However, the Cheetahs bid farewell to a few players this week and linked these two to the Johannesburg side.

Bath prop Juan Schoeman, brother of Scottish international Pierre Schoeman, has also been linked to the Lions.

The 32-year-old made 62 appearances for Bath after joining from Sharks in 2020.

Willem Alberts will retire as a player at the end of the season, while some players’ contracts have not been extended – including Corne Fourie, Ruan Smith, Stean Pienaar, Andries Coetzee, Travis Gordon, Tyler Bocks and Sibusiso Sangweni.


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