Lions lose their coach
BREAKING NEWS: The Lions will complete their tour of New Zealand without coach Swys de Bruin, whilst defence coach Joey Mongalo is facing an internal disciplinary hearing.
The longstanding mentor has returned to South Africa ahead of the team’s Super Rugby Round 10 encounter with the Chiefs in Hamilton on Friday.
Lions Rugby Company CEO Rudolf Straeuli confirmed that De Bruin is on his way back from New Zealand.
“He is returning home for personal reasons,” Straeuli told @rugby365com.
Straeuli confirmed that Ivan van Rooyen, the team’s 2018 Currie Cup coach, will take charge of the team in Hamilton on Friday.
“He [De Bruin] informed me last night [Wednesday] of the situation, “Straeuli said.
“They are already in matchday mode [it was the early hours of Friday morning] and I did not want to disturb the players too much,” the Lions CEO said.
Team manager Mustapha Boomgaard will take charge of the off-field matters.
This development makes the return of captain Warren Whiteley all the more important for the Lions.
Whiteley will lead the team for the first time since he suffered a pectoral major muscle tear in the Lions’ Round Two encounter with the Stormers back in February.
After Friday’s encounter with the Chiefs, the Lions complete their tour with a match against the Crusaders in Christchurch next Friday.
* Meanwhile the Lions confirmed that Mongalo has returned home – along with De Bruin and Springbok wing Courtnall Skosan.
Skosan’s return home is to be with his father, who is gravely ill.
Mongalo, who was charged with indecent assault on a Sydney hotel worker, was found guilty and ‘sentenced’ by a Sydney court this week.
The nature of the sentence was not revealed in any of the media reports.
The 34-year-old appeared in the Downing Centre Local Court in Sydney on Wednesday, where Magistrate Thompson sanctioned the franchise’s defence guru after he was found guilty on April 12.
Mongalo will now be subjected to an internal disciplinary hearing, according to Straeuli.
However, he referred @rugby365com to a formal statement and would not elaborate on the issue.
“The Lions Rugby Company, in consideration of the court ruling handed down in the matter of Joey Mongalo, hereby confirms that it respects the judicial processes of the Australian Government and the subsequent court ruling in this matter,” the statement said.
“The Lions Rugby Company considers misconduct related to Assault with the Act of Indecency, particularly serious and a direct violation of Lions Rugby Company values and culture.
“The Lions Rugby Company will follow the normal internal disciplinary processes regarding the matter.”
Straeuli made it clear there will be “no further comment” on the matter until the Code of Conduct process has concluded.
By Jan de Koning