There won't be a royal roll-out
There won't be a royal roll-outSHARE
Suggestions that other franchises will be able to freely plunder the Lions' resources have been dismissed by the union's bosses.
Since the Lions had their Super Rugby status stripped and handed to the Southern Kings, there has been numerous reports of a mass exodus and other franchises attempting to secure a large number of the Lions on a loan basis for 2013.
This include the Kings, who last week awoke to the fact that they actually have to communicate with the Lions over the availability of players.
Golden Lions Rugby Union CEO Golden Lions Rugby Union CEO Ruben Moggee, in an exclusive and broad-ranging interview with this website, confirmed that he has received communications from the Kings requesting the services of some players.
"Yes, they have emailed me," he said of a communiqué which eventually arrived late last week.
"It was a bit strange – they talked about guys like Pat Cilliers, which are no longer under our control," Moggee said of the Boks prop who had singed with the Stormers for 2013.
The Lions boss said they will reply to the Kings, but said there will not be a royal roll-out of players to any franchise, including the Kings.
"The difficulty is, and they will start appreciating it when we formally enter into those discussions, the players hold a contract with us. I can't force them to go play anywhere else. I can dictate the tournaments in which they play, to a degree, but I can't force them to go play anywhere.
"The discussions that were held with Lionel [Mapoe], the discussions that are being held with Jaco [Taute] and Franco [van der Merwe] comes with their consent and their wishes of where they [the players] would like to play.
"I am going to put forward the request that I have received from Anele Pamba [Southern Kings CEO] to the players and then it is up to them to make that decision and then I take it to our board.
"Ultimately we also need to make decisions that is in the best interest of the players – we need to make sure the player is played in position, that the player isn't there just to hold the tackle bags … he actually gets game time.
"[We need] to ensure he brings that experience back, with another campaign and another season under his belt."
Asked which players have been requested from other franchises, Moggee told this website: "Lionel [Mapoe], Elton [Jantjies], Jaco [Taute] and Callie Visagie.
"We go to them and say: 'These franchises are interested, where do you want to go?'
"If we agree to loan players out, we also have to ensure we have a squad that is competitive enough … we can't simply loan out all 15 our players.
"There is a bit of give and take – we haven't put a quota on to say we will release five or six.
"We will evaluate each position. For example, where do we stand on loose forwards, do we have enough cover? Where do we stand on front rows, do we have cover? We can look at our junior ranks and see what is coming through and say: 'This is it – he can go or he can't.'," Moggee added.
Flyhalf is one position where the Lions are a bit short, but Springbok Elton Jantjies will definitely be 'loaned' to another franchise.
Recent media reports have linked the Bok No.10 to the Kings, Bulls, Sharks and Stormers. However, the most likely to win the race are the Stormers (as front runners) and Sharks.
It is believed Jantjies will make a call on the matter early next week.
"We are definitely short there," Moggee said about the flyhalf position, adding: "Having said that, we have Guy Cronjé that can step in, we have Andries Coetzee that can alternate between flyhalf and fullback and we have Marais Schmidt, our Under-21 flyhalf that has come through [into the senior ranks]."
The Lions also this week revealed the signing of talented Griquas flyhalf Marnitz Boshoff.
By Jan de Koning
* Keep an eye out for the last editorial, of our exclusive interview with Ruben Moggee, when we talk about the latest on the John Mitchell and Carlos Spencer saga.