De Klerk wants to stop 'feeding frenzy'

Thu, 23 Aug 2012 12:34
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Lions President Kevin de Klerk has fought many tough battles, but few have upset him as much as the uncalled raids on his troubled union's players.

Golden Lions Rugby Union President Kevin de Klerk has fought many tough battles, but few have upset him as much as the uncalled raids on his troubled union's player resources.

It has been a week of untold turmoil for the men from Johannesburg - with the South African Rugby Union having pulled the plug on their Super Rugby participation and judge WJ Hartzenberg also ruling against the Lions in an arbitration case brought their franchise partners, the Leopards and Pumas.

Last week's SARU ruling got the ball rolling, with Lions players seemingly fair game - as agents and other rugby unions queue up to sign the Lions' top players for 2013.

De Klerk was apoplectic with anger when asked to comment on a statement by Western Province and Stormers coach Allister Coetzee that he may target among others, Springbok Elton Jantjies.

Other players listed in media reports as being in the sights of other franchises include new Bok prop Pat Cilliers, veteran lock Franco van der Merwe, former captain Josh Strauss, current skipper JC Janse van Rensburg and star back Jaco Taute.

Coetzee earlier this week told a media gathering they might be interested in looking at some Lions players for next year.

"Some of the other franchise-teams will look to see if players will be available due to the Lions not playing Super Rugby," Coetzee said at a media gathering in Cape Town.

"Elton Jantjies is a player who has an exit-clause in his contract if the Lions do not play in the Super-series," the WP coach added.

De Klerk suggested the other franchises should show some "rugby etiquette" and stop these opportunistic attempts at poaching players.

"What happened to us was not our decision," De Klerk told this website - in reference to the SARU decision to axe the Lions in order to make room for the Southern Kings in 2013.

"I have so much respect for Allister [Coetzee]," the Lions boss said, adding: "Why can't we just be rugby people.

"If I may put it this way: It is like a feeding frenzy.

"All I ask is that they show honour ... don't be like a pack of wolves.

"What is this really about?"

De Klerk confirmed that the bulk of their players are signed till the end of next year.

However, he said the responsibility, as officials, is for the GLRU to ensure they are looked after and that their careers are not harmed in all this.

It means some players could be "loaned" to franchises for the duration of the Super Rugby season if the proper channels are followed.

The list of senior players contracted till October 2013 include JC Janse van Rensburg, CJ van der Linde, Callie Visagie, Pat Cilliers, Hendrik Roodt, Franco van der Merwe, Derick Minnie, Jaco Kriel, Michael Rhodes, Stephan Greeff, Josh Strauss, Warren Whiteley, Michael Bondesio, Ross Cronje, Whestley Moolman, Elton Jantjies, Guy Cronje, Jaco Taute, Alwyn Hollenbach, Lionel Mapoe, Dylan des Fountain, Bradley Moolman, Deon van Rensburg, Deon Helberg, Andries Coetzee, James Kamana.
 
Jantjies does have a clause in his contract which allows to play at a different franchise during the Super Rugby season, but he remains contracted to the Lions and will return for Currie Cup rugby if he is not required by the national team.

By Jan de Koning

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