Lions to beef up with Bees?
Lions to beef up with Bees?SHARE
The newly promoted Golden Lions are looking at controversial prop Jacobus Roux to fill a massive front row void.
Roux, better known as 'Bees', hit the headlines for all the wrong reasons in August 2010 – when he was arrested in connection with the death of a South African police officer in Pretoria.
Roux was given a five-year suspended jail sentence in 2011 over the beating to death of Tshwane metro police officer Johannes Mogale the year before.
Now, after a two-year absence he could make his return to the game in South Africa, although no formal deal has been finalised with the Golen Lions Rugby Union.
Lions coach Johan Ackermann confirmed on Monday that injuries and the departure of captain JC Janse van Rensburg has left the team with a huge front row void ahead of the Currie Cup season – which starts when they host the Cheetahs in Johannesburg on Saturday.
Janse van Rensburg has already departed for French team Bayonne, after helping the Lions regain their Super Rugby status at the weekend.
Tighthead prop Julian Redelinghuys will have to undergo surgery after he dislocated his thumb in the 18-23 loss to the Southern Kings at the weekend.
Veteran Bok prop CJ van der Linde has also just returned to training after an injury lay-off, leaving the Lions very thin in the front row.
That's not where Ackermann's problems end. The Lions paid a very dear price for their efforts in the past two weeks, which saw them edge the Kings 44-42 on aggregate in the promotion-relegation series.
First-choice scrumhalf Michael Bondesio remains sidelined after knee surgery, while back-up No.9 Ross Cronje injured his hamstring and will be sidelined for about six weeks.
Fullback Ruan Combrink tore ankle ligaments and also faces a lengthy stay on the sidelines.
Star loose forward Warren Whitely will undergo surgery for a dislocated finger, suffered at the weekend.
Then there's injuries that sidelined season players like Lionel Mapoe, Andries Coetzee and Alwyn Hollenbach even before the play-offs.
Add to that the absence of key players like Springbok Franco van der Merwe, who is in camp with the national team preparing for the Rugby Championship and the departure of fellow lock Hendrik Roodt to French Top 14 side Grenoble.
"We have 10 guys out for the start of the Currie Cup season," Ackermann told this website.
Ackermann said they will "take stock" in the days to come and decide if they need additional recruits for the Currie Cup season.
"We have been focussed mainly on the promotion-relegation matches, but we will have a look now and see where the shortcomings are," the Lions coach said, adding: "Especially with the injuries, we will have to bring in a few extra players.
"However, it will be tough, because most of the top players have been signed."
The possible selection of Roux is likely to raise eyebrows, given the circumstances of his departure in 2011.
Conditions reached in a plea bargain with the state mean that apart from the suspended jail sentence Roux had to pay Mogale's family ZAR750 000 compensation.
Ackermann dismissed the suggestion that the player's past could be a distraction.
“We are selecting him for rugby and no other reason," the Lions coach told SAPA, adding; "He is a prop that is available coming back from abroad [Benetton Treviso].
“We are in a tight spot as there are no other players that are not under contract, so we'll pull him into the group and see how he goes."
It has been reported that the Lions are in possession of letters dating to 2011 and 2013 where the parents and the family of the police officer, Johannes Mogale, gave their blessing to Roux to continue to play rugby.
A month after Roux pleaded guilty the Blue Bulls sacked Roux for breach of contract. He moved to Europe where he first played for French club the Bordeaux Eagles, then last year joined the Italian team, Treviso, and recently also featured in a South African Barbarians team that played a match against English giants Saracens.
By Jan de Koning, additional reporting by SAPA