My lip is quivering and the tears are close
The Lions reclaimed what they felt was rightfully theirs, Super Rugby status.
They were stripped of their right to play in the competition in the boardroom, but reclaimed it on the playing field.
This was the view of departing Lions captain JC Janse van Rensburg, after his team lost 18-23 to the Southern Kings in Johannesburg on Saturday.
Despite defeat the Lions won the two-match promotion-relegation series against the Southern Kings on aggregate, 44-42, after they took a seven-point lead with last week's 26-19 triumph in Port Elizabeth.
Janse van Rensburg ran out in front for the last time, before heading to French team Bayonne - where he signed a two-year deal.
"Not the result we were after [in this match], but we are back in Super Rugby," the likeable skipper said, adding: "We went and got back what belongs to the Lions."
The Kings needed to win by more than eight points to remain in Super Rugby, but the Lions held on despite being reduced to 14 men late in the game and claimed a vital losing bonus point.
While the Kings went into the match as overwhelming underdogs following last weekend's defeat in the Port Elizabeth, they came out firing.
"It was a helluva hard game here [at Ellis Park], but luckily for us it was within seven points - we got the bonus point and we are back in Super Rugby," Janse van Rensburg said.
The Lions again relied heavily on their scrum and won several penalties as the Kings' set piece faltered.
"We worked really hard and [World Cup-winning Springbok] Balie [Swart] has done an amazing job with the guys," the Lions skipper said.
He admitted to being "emotional" ahead of his departure for France and the fact that he will not be playing for the Lions when they return to Super Rugby next year.
"My lip is quivering and the tears are close," he said.
"However, I had eight great years at the Lions and the union really looked after me. I am just grateful to them."