I live in hope; that's all I can say
Lions President Kevin de Klerk has described the financial implications of exclusion from Super Rugby as 'very, very severe'.
Speaking to the media at Newlands on Saturday after the Stormers had beaten the Lions 27-17, De Klerk confirmed that while he had no specific new information on whether the Lions would be playing Super Rugby next year, much work was being done behind the scenes.
He was encouraged by the Minister of Sport having told the Parliamentary Sports' Portfolio Committee that while the Kings would play Super Rugby next year, it would not be in place of one of the five existing South African franchises.
"How that will work - six into five - I don't fully understand, but I believe firmly that we will still take part [in the Super competition] next year," De Klerk said.
"A few things have still got to happen. They are trying to settle a few transactions."
He believed the final decision would be made on or about 13 July - or perhaps towards the end of July.
Asked whether SARU could be trusted, De Klerk replied: "I live in hope; that's all I can say."
Commenting on the downside for a Union demoted from Super Rugby, the Lions President said: "The financial implications are very, very severe for the team going down."
The union's relationship with their sponsors, season ticket holders, and suite holders would be detrimentally affected. There would, without doubt in his view, be enormous implications attached to the team not playing Super Rugby.
De Klerk was, however, happy with the Lions' player group. "I've got wonderful players. We're a good camp. We believe in one another."
He appreciated their loyalty - and was happy that they had been contracted for 2013.
On the issue of the Lions' coaching structure - with head coach John Mitchell having been suspended - De Klerk said he hoped to have clarity as soon as possible.
He was full of praise for the Lions' assistant coaches, and especially for Johan Ackermann who had stepped in as acting head coach. The Mitchell issue was being handled according to protocol and he hoped to finalise the matter as soon as possible.
By Len Kaplan, at Newlands