Rugby

Shimange on loan to Lions

2009-12-30 17:12
Hanyani Shimange (File)
Johannesburg - New Lions coach Dick Muir has bolstered his resources ahead of the Super 14 competition, with Springbok hooker Hanyani Shimange and lock George Earl set to join the Johannesburg-based franchise in the new year.

They will join Tonderai Chavhanga, who signed with the Lions in September, when Muir and his charges return from their festive season break early in January.

Muir's squad boasts a number of notable new signings, including Griquas captain Jonathan Mokuena, Leopards stalwart Deon van Rensburg, as well as Bulls duo Burton Francis and Marius Delport.

While Earl has been released by Western Province and have signed a contract with the Lions, Shimange will only be on loan to Muir.

Stormers chief Rassie Erasmus revealed that Earl was "too far back in the second row queue" and could not have expected any reasonable game time in Cape Town.

Ahead of him are locks Adriaan Fondse, De Kock Steenkamp, Andries Bekker, Anton van Zyl and Martin Muller.

However, Shimange is one of four hookers contracted by the Stormers - with only Tiaan Liebenberg and Deon Fourie ahead of him.

With Shimange on loan to the Lions, young Callie Visagie will be the third hooker in the Stormers' squad.

Erasmus said Shimange will train with the Lions till the end of January, before Muir will decide if he will formally join the Lions' Super 14 squad.

"Shimange's contract (with Western Province and the Stormers) expires at the end of next year and he is simply not getting enough game time with us," Erasmus said.

"Shimmy and myself both feel he is the kind of player that must play himself into the team. He doesn't get into top form in just one or two games and must play often to get (match) fit.

"I simply do not see him getting any game time ahead of Tiaan and Deon.

"Dick phoned to say he needed players and I mentioned Shimmy to him.

"If he doesn't make the Lions' Super 14 squad, he will return to Cape Town and play in the Vodacom Cup for Western Province."

Hans van Dyk and Derek Harwood are the current hookers in the Lions' squad. 

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