Good news – the Lions are now apparently in talks with every international player that has ever worn the green and gold, from Danie Gerber right through to Jorrie Muller! Reading between the lines, it would appear that the failure to win a single match in this year’s Super 14 is being blamed squarely on the players and their goal is to throw away the current lot and start all over again with a star-studded team of imports.
The first two targets are players both in the news recently, former Sharks pivot Butch James and former WP centre Jean de Villiers. James blew up rather messily all over the media last week, starting a war of words between himself and the Sharks management that has left neither side looking particularly good and the Lions, supposedly flush with yet more cash that they found goodness knows where, are ready to step in and make Butch a big offer. Dick Muir is apparently also going to use his “special relationship” to convince de Villiers, keen on a return from Munster, to turn his back on offers from both WP and the Sharks and rather throw in his lot with the Joburg team.
It doesn’t end there, of course. Rumours have continued to surface throughout the Super 14 that the Lions were ready and willing to solve the “front-row crisis” in Durban, caused by the presence of too many Springbok players. Both John Smit and the du Plessis pair have at various stages been linked to the Lions and while I’ve been led to believe that Muir is not particularly interested in the brothers, he is very keen to have John Smit join his team in a player/coach role.
The thing that nobody seems to be mentioning is that, according to some reasonably credible reports, the Lions are bankrupt. How, then, are they going to afford the wage demands of some of the most expensive players in the business? My feeling is that CEO Manie Reynecke probably doesn’t realise that his Union doesn’t have any money. After all, he has proven completely inept in every other facet of managing a professional rugby union, so it’s probably safe to assume that he doesn’t have a clue about the financial situation either.
Beware, is all I would say to players looking at taking the Lions’ money. Dick Muir will be gone within a year and you’ll be left hoping that your contracts have been written to the “standard GLRU specification”.Tweet