Lions trio return for playoffs

    2013-07-22 14:36
    Cape Town - Three out of a total of six Lions players on loan to various Super Rugby teams have returned to the Lions for the crucial first leg of the promotion-relegation playoffs against the Kings in Port Elizabeth on Friday.

    Lock Franco van der Merwe (Sharks), hooker Martin Bezuidenhout and flyhalf Elton Jantjies (both Stormers) have rejoined the Lions squad in preparation for the match.

    Speaking to Hugh Bladen on BallzRadio, president of the Golden Lions Rugby Union (GLRU), Kevin de Klerk, confirmed the return of the three key players and said they were in peak physical condition, but said the Lions were unlucky to lose three other players to injuries and contractual issues.

    "Unfortunately Jaco Taute (Stormers) and Lionel Mapoe (Bulls) are injured, and Callie Visagie (Bulls), in terms of our agreement with the Bulls, will stay on for their (Super Rugby) playoffs."

    De Klerk expressed confidence in his team heading into the playoff.

    "We have consolidated the team in the Vodacom Cup, we had the Lions challenge, we made a big statement in putting up 74 points against Samoa. The team has good momentum going into the playoffs," De Klerk said.

    "The guys are really fired up and looking forward to it," De Klerk said.

    The Lions will play the first of the two promotion-relegation matches against the Kings at the Nelson Mandela Stadium on Friday, July 26 (kick-off at 19:10), followed by the return leg at Ellis Park on Saturday, August 3 (kick-off TBD, depending on whether the Bulls advance to the Super Rugby final or not).

    Promotion-relegation fixtures:

    Friday, July 26: Kings v Lions, Nelson Mandela Stadium - 19:10
    Saturday, August 3: Lions v Kings, Ellis Park - TBD

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