Telling fortnight for Lions

Lions president Kevin de Klerk says Elton Jantjies and Jaco Taute’s loan deals, the team’s 2013 schedule and the John Mitchell hearing should be finalised over the next two weeks.

The major talking point is which franchises Springbok duo Jantjies and Taute will represent during Super Rugby next season.

Both players have received offers from all the major unions. It’s likely that Jantjies will make a move to Cape Town and join the Stormers, while Taute has confirmed to this site that he’s still overlooking all his options and stressed that there’s no possibility of joining the Kings. Taute has been in talks with the Stormers, Sharks and Bulls.

‘We are currently holding meetings this week to discuss these deals,’ De Klerk told ‘Right now, the players are focused on their Currie Cup duties. We hope to get everything confirmed as soon as possible.’

The deals are likely to be confirmed over the next fortnight.

De Klerk also confirmed that the Johannesburg union is close to settling on a fixed schedule for 2013.

The Lions have already agreed to host several clubs from Europe and will face two American teams during a tour to the USA. They are also set to face Fiji, Samoa or Tonga in June. These matches will be televised.

‘These plans are very exciting,’ said De Klerk. ‘We just need to get clearance from Saru and settle these fixtures with a broadcaster. The major thing is that all these games will be televised.’

Meanwhile, the disciplinary hearing with suspended head coach Mitchell is still ongoing. The matter has been postponed several times since June.

However, De Klerk said a settlement should be made by early next week.

‘Both parties have voiced their arguments to the chairman in charge. We should get a final decision on Friday or early next week.’

It’s believed that interim coach Johan Ackermann is set for a permanent post once Mitchell makes an exit.

By Gareth Duncan