Every South African franchise will benefit from the Lions non-participation in this year’s Super Rugby.
The core of the 2012 Lions squad, 16 in total, will play Super Rugby this season. Wikus van Heerden and Cobus Grobbelaar have retired, Josh Strauss and Jacobie Adriaanse have gone to Scotland and Wales respectively, veteran Doppies la Grange is with Italian club Treviso and Etienne Oosthuizen will play for the Brumbies.
The Stormers and Bulls, with five Lions each, are the biggest winners.
Breakdown of those who flopped with the Lions:
Stormers: Ruan Botha, Pat Cilliers, Michael Rhodes, Jaco Taute, Elton Jantjies (5)
Bulls: Paul Willemse, Grant Hattingh, Callie Visagie, Rudi Paige, Lionel Mapoe (4)
Sharks: Butch James, Franco van der Merwe (2)
Cheetahs: Caylib Oosthuizen (1)
Kings: Bandise Maku, Michael Killian (2)
16 South African players have also left for European, English and Australian teams.
SA player movement (who’s in and who’s out):
IN: Ruan Botha, Pat Cilliers, Michael Rhodes, Jaco Taute, Elton Jantjies (all Lions)
OUT: Demetri Catrakilis (Kings), Tyrone Holmes (Colomiers), Nick Koster (Bath), Quinn Roux (Leinster)
IN: Marcell van der Merwe (Cheetahs), Willie Wepener (Clermont), Paul Willemse, Grant Hattingh, Callie Visagie, Rudi Paige, Lionel Mapoe (all Lions)
OUT: CJ Stander (Munster), Gerrit-Jan van Velvze (Northampton), Rayno Gerber (Rovigo), Johann Sadie (Cheetahs).
IN: Butch James, Franco van der Merwe (both Lions)
OUT: Steven Sykes (Kings), Ross Skeate (Agen), Frederic Michalak (Toulon)
IN: Joubert Engelbrecht (Leopards), Elgar Watts (Boland), Cornal Hendricks (Boland), JP Nel (Shining Arcs) Johann Sadie (Bulls), Torsten van Jaarsveld (Pumas) Rossouw de Klerk (Bulls), Lodeweyk de Jager (Leopards), Tertius Daniller (WP), Sarel Pretorius (Waratahs), Caylib Oosthuizen (Lions)
OUT: WP Nel (Edinburgh), George Earle (Llanelli Scarlets), Sias Ebersohn (Force), Izak van der Westhuizen (Edinburgh), Marcel van der Merwe (Bulls), Phillip Snyman (Bok Sevens), Ashley Johnson (Wasps).
IN: Demetri Catrakilis (WP), Andries Strauss (Cheetahs), Steven Sykes (Sharks), Bandise Maku (Lions), Michael Killian (Lions), Waylon Murray (Lions), Nichols Vergallo (Toulouse), Hadleigh Parkes (Auckland)
OUT: Paul Perez (Samoa), Louis Strydom, Clint Newland