Kriel denies reports of Wasps move
NEWS: Lions stand-in captain Jaco Kriel has denied reports that he is in talks to sign for Premiership club Wasps. Josh Isaacson reports.
Reports surfaced last week that suggested Wasps are interested in signing the powerful Springbok flank.
However, speaking ahead of the Lions Round 15 Super Rugby clash against the Sunwolves on Saturday, Kriel sounded surprised when asked about a potential move to Wasps and commented that his contract with the Lions will come to an end in 2018, however, he has no plans of going anywhere at the moment.
"I believe that's a bit premature from whoever wrote that. I saw it in the papers. My dad phoned me and wanted to know what's going on.
"I'm still signed with the Lions for Super Rugby next year, I am coming out of contract then and I've got nothing after Super Rugby 2018. So maybe they spoke about that, but that's what I know about the story," Kriel clarified.
Kriel takes over the captaincy from regular skipper Warren Whiteley, who has been sidelined for six to eight weeks after suffering a pelvis injury. Kriel added that Whiteley's leadership will be missed, however, he stressed that the Lions have created a leadership group who contribute to the team on and off the field.
"First of all it's a massive privilege to captain the side and I will always back Warren [Whiteley] when he's the leader. That's the kind of leadership group we are building, so no matter who is the captain we will back and help each other.
"Warren is a massive loss for the team and we will miss him, but as coach [Johan Ackermann] said, we must still play the game and get the result," he added.
The Lions have a new look loose-trio with flank Albertus 'Kwagga' Smith and No.8 Ruan Ackermann packing down alongside Kriel. The stand-in captain added that both players will contribute and add versatility to the Lions game, with Ackermann bringing physicality to the game while Kwagga brings footwork and offloading ability.
"I really believe Ruan Ackermann brings a different aspect to the game and with Kwagga also there we've got quite a dynamic loose trio," he stated.
By Josh Isaacson, in Johannesburg