Elton headlines Lions' bulk signings
The Lions took a giant leap in the right direction with the bulk resigning of a core group that includes their Springboks, as they start looking towards their re-entry into Super Rugby.
Springboks Elton Jantjies, Franco van der Merwe and Lionel Mapoe headline the group that will remain with the Lions through till 2015.
Player agents James Adams confirmed to this website that a substantial number of players on his books have all signed new two-year contracts with the Golden Lions Rugby Union.
This include the three internationals – Jantjies (flyhalf), Mapoe (utility back) and Van der Merwe (lock) – along with other regulars like Jacques van Rooyen (prop), Robbie Coetzee (hooker), Willie Wepener (hooker) and Ruan Dreyer (prop).
Prop Jacobus 'Bees' Roux, who recently signed a three-month Currie Cup contract, looks set to join this elite group in making Ellis Park a more permanent home.
Players who are also staying on beyond 2013, but are not in the Adams camp, include Marnitz Boshoff, Alwyn Hollenbach, Ruan Combrinck, Jaco Kriel, Warren Whiteley, Anthony Volmink, Nicolaas Hanekom, Andries Coetzee, Derick Minnie, Willie Britz.
Although the contracting process for 2014 is ongoing, Adams said for his clients the recent developments are good news.
"It is great that the guys can now sit and just focus at the task at hand," he told this website, adding: "There are no distractions.
"The Lions [GLRU] have handled this pretty well and they have managed to keep all of them on board, which is a step in the right direction.
"Now, ahead of the Super Rugby [season, next year] they just need some more signings."
The player agent said he will remain involved in the recruitment process.
"We are looking at a couple of things [players], yes," Adams said, when asked if he was assisting the Lions.
"If they don't get locally what they are looking for, they may even look at the international market," he added.
Players who have not resigned with the GLRU include Deon van Rensburg, Dylan des Fountain, Lionel Cronjé, CJ van der Linde and Martin Bezuidenhout.
Negotiations with them are ongoing.
By Jan de Koning