Springbok centre Lionel Mapoe leads player exodus at the Lions
Stand by for new-look team for 2020 Super Rugby season
The expected post-World Cup exodus seems already to have started for the Lions with Springbok centre Lionel Mapoe one of the biggest stars to leave.
Mapoe‚ who has been capped 14 times for the Springboks since 2015‚ will be followed out of the door by fellow Springboks Ruan Combrinck and Stephan Lewies.
Other players who will be leaving the Lions are hooker Robbie Coetzee‚ utility back Sylvian Mahuza‚ scrumhalf Nic Groom‚ prop Danie Mienie‚ lock Robert Kruger and centres Harold Vorster and Franco Naude.
The only destinations known as present are Groom’s who is heading for Edinburgh and Harlequins as next home for Lewies.
A number of these players were squad members during the Lions’ decent Super Rugby years between 2016 and 2018. During a previous player exodus when former coach Johan Ackermann left for Gallagher Premiership Rugby club Gloucester in 2017‚ many had to step up to fill the void.
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This means the Lions will have a totally different look for 2020’s Super Rugby tournament after failing to make the playoffs in 2018 for the first time in three seasons. They took part in three consecutive finals which they lost to the Hurricanes away (2016) and the Crusaders at home (2017) and away (2019).
Ackermann presided over the two earlier final defeats with current Lions Super coach Swys de Bruin in charge for 2018’s loss against the Crusaders in Christchurch.
From a Currie Cup coaching perspective‚ 2018’s mentor Ivan “Cash” van Rooyen has a new but popular name in his coaching group in former Glenwood Boy’s High‚ Paarl Boy’s High and SA Schools coach Sean Erasmus.
Erasmus comes in as the defence and breakdown coach while Philip Lemmer‚ Neil de Bruin and Julian Redelinghuys will work as the forwards coach‚ attack coach and scrum consultant respectively.
Lions Super Rugby defence coach Joey Mongalo will head up the Golden Lions Under-21 side where he will be assisted by Wessel Roux (forwards) and Mziwakhe Nkosi (attack).