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Stormers snag TWO big Lions

Wed, 03 Oct 2012 08:32
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You have to take difficult decisions
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Elton Jantjies may not have signed on the dotted line yet, but two other big-name Lions players will feature ion the Stormers squad in 2013.

Golden Lions Rugby Union CEO Ruben Moggee confirmed that Springbok prop Patric Cilliers and utility forward Michael Rhodes will both play for the Stormers next year.

Moggee also revealed that veteran Lions lock Franco van der Merwe will go "on loan" to the Sharks for Super Rugby in 2013.

"The two other players have been released from their contracts," Moggee told this website in an interview on Wednesday.

The Lions boss also confirmed that Bok backline stars  Elton Jantjies and Jaco Taute have yet to decide where they will play their Super Rugby in 2013, although they will be loaned to other franchises.

According to media reports there is a tug-o'-war between the Sharks, Stormers and Bulls for the services of these players.

New Bok utility back Lionel Mapoe, called up to the national team for the first time this week, has been linked to the Bulls. However, his movements in 2013 must also still be confirmed.

Moggee revealed that Cilliers and Rhodes, who joined the Lions from the Sharks in 2011, wanted to "move together".

"We would have had to release Pat [Cilliers] for Super Rugby, whether it is in his contract or not, being that he is in the Bok set-up," the Lions boss told this website.

"We would have had to loan him out for Super Rugby, then he is back in the Bok mix, which means we would not have him for Currie Cup rugby next year.

"He [Cilliers] also indicated that he was interested in moving to Western Province after he had seen out his contract here [at the Lions, which runs till October 2013]

"It becomes impractical if, essentially, you are not going to have a player for 10 months and he has already indicated he wants to move on."

The spin-off for the Lions is that, because they are not playing Super Rugby, releasing Cilliers from his contract early it becomes a money saver for them.

"You have to, with a couple of players, take difficult decisions and he is one of those," Moggee said of Cilliers' departure.

"Michael [Rhodes] is a bit more complicated," the Lions CEO said, adding: "He hasn't played a lot of rugby this year.

"Also, they [Cilliers and Rhodes] are good friends and travel together. They came to us from the Sharks together and will go to the Stormers together ... they are good friends and want to move together."

By Jan de Koning

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