The Emirates Lions have unveiled a new group of six players ahead of their Super Rugby preseason including flanker Roelof Smit.
Alongside Smit, the Lions have also attracted the signatures of Francke Horn, Andre Warner, Tiaan Swanepoel, James Mollentze & Dan Kriel for the upcoming season.
— Emirates Lions (@LionsRugbyCo) October 28, 2019
The additions will definitely be a big boost to the Lions especially given the size of their new recruits.
Smit has moved across the Jukskei to the Johannesburg based outfit and weighing in at over 100kg and standing at 1.90m, he will add some physicality to the side of the scrum as well as a wealth of experience in a relatively young group of players and will go a long way to fill the void of Kwagga Smith who is set to take a sabbatical for the Super Rugby season alongside Malcolm Marx.
The signing of Horne marks another sign of intent to back the youth as the former U20 South African vice-captain moves his way up from the Western Province. The big ball carrying junior will rival Smit in his physique, standing at 1.90m and weighing over 100kg as well.
Andre Warner will slot in at scrumhalf where the Lions have continued to struggle to replace Faf de Klerk and have seemingly beaten the Stormers to his signature with the former Tuks No. 9 linked to a move to the Cape earlier this year.
In the backline, Swanepoel joins as a fullback with a broad skill set that includes a 60m place kicking ability as well as a good turn of pace while Mollentze, a rising star in the Varsity Cup Young Guns which saw him called up to the Junior Springboks, is capable of playing at flyhalf and centre.
Finally, Kriel will be a big boost in the centres and will provide cover for Lionel Mapoe and Franco Naude who will both not be returning to the Lions
The brother of Springbok centre Jaco, left the Western Province following a solid Currie Cup after contract negotiation issues given the lack of certainty over the cash flow available to the cash-strapped union.
All in all, the Lions have done well to recruit a range of young talent mixed with some experience and given the already young squad, will certainly be looking to back the youth as they aim to rebuild their side following the amss exodus of players and coaches which now also features head coach Swys de Bruin who has joined the EP Kings as an attack consultant.