Golden Lions Rugby Union Chief Executive Manie Reyneke has confirmed that they will do “everything possible” to retain the services of World Cup-winning centre Jaque Fourie – as the player drain looks set to continue.
Article courtesy www.rugby365.com.
Reyneke put a positive spin on the union’s recruitment drive – following the departure of a host of senior players – when he revealed that the union had succeeded in retaining the services of the bulk of the province’s most promising professional talent.
Senior players absent from the opening rounds or the entire Currie Cup include Fourie (Bok duty and on the French club’s wishlist), Doppies la Grange (injured), André Pretorius (injured and heading to Perth), Ernst Joubert (Saracens), Jannes Labuschagne (injured), Gerhard Mostert (injured), Anton van Zyl (Western Province), Heinke van der Merwe (injured), Willie Wepener (Clermont) and Ethienne Reynecke (Saracens).
But the Lions CEO was happy with what they retained.
“It is fantastic that so many players have such a strong belief in what we want to achieve as a professional side and as a rugby union, and this belief has been borne out with players signing with the Golden Lions Rugby Union until the end of the 2011 Currie Cup,” he said.
Reyneke also said he had not given up on the fight to keep the union’s star Springbok, Fourie, in the province, despite reports that Fourie had already signed with French Top 14 club Clermont.
“Jaque is contracted until October 2010 and I am doing everything possible to ensure Jaque sees out that contract,” said Reyneke.
“This is his home. It is where he learned his rugby and it is where I want to see him continue playing.”
Reyneke said he would never insist on retaining a player if the player was not comfortable or happy in the environment, but he was hopeful that World Cup-winning coach Jake White’s involvement with the Lions, by way of a consultancy, would encourage the likes of Fourie to reconsider a move to Europe.
“Jaque and Jake have a strong player/coach history with the Springboks, as does Jaque and [head coach] Hans Coetzee from Jaque’s formative years.
“Jake has spent the last week with the squad and has spoken individually with players about the belief he has in their potential and what is achievable in the Currie Cup and the Super 14. I’ve also spoken with several players and they have responded brilliantly to the rugby audit conducted by Jake and Eddie Jones.
“There is acceptance from the players of why there had to be change in the rugby structures and there is also confidence in them and from them that the Lions can realize their potential as a Currie Cup and Super 14 championship team.”
Emerging Bok scrumhalf Jano Vermaak leads the list of players to extend their contract by a further two years.
“There was understandably a lot of interest outside of the province for a player of Jano’s class and we are delighted that he has committed to stay with the Lions,” said Reyneke.
White, whose consultancy is for the duration of the Currie Cup, said it was vital to nurture the talent within the province and to buy wisely.
“The two work in tandem,” White said, adding: “I have said from the outset that we have to add more quality to the squad if we are to seriously challenge in the Super 14, but just buying players is not a solution and there has to be investment in the talent in this province.
“There are some very good young players at the Lions and it is a case of getting them in the right mental and physical shape for them to come good on their ability.
“I know how difficult it is to keep players when a team has struggled and it is a credit to Manie’s [Reyneke] leadership that he has shown calmness and urgency in his decision-making and in his ability to keep the best here while at the same time searching for those three or four players we want to lure to the province in the next six months,” added White.
Lions players to have extended their contracts to 2011: Jano Vermaak, JC Janse van Rensburg, Franco van der Merwe, Dusty Noble, Gert Muller, Henno Mentz.
Players still under contract until 2010 and 2011: Jaque Fourie, Louis Ludik, Willem Alberts, Cobus Grobbelaar, Jannie Boshoff, Earl Rose, Heinke van der Merwe, Hans van Dyk, Lawrence Sephaka, Doppies la Grange, Michael Killian, Walter Venter, Chris Jonck, Ross Geldenhuys, Alistair Siegelaar, Ruoan Cloete, Divan Kotze, Robert Kruger, Shandre Frolick, Ruan Boshoff, Johan Snyman, Alwyn Hollenbach, Johan Jackson, Kevin Buys, Wouter Moore, Pieter Engelbrecht, Herkie Kruger, Earl Lewis, Derick Minnie, Bradley Mockford and Justin St Jerry.Tweet