Reports that Springbok Elton Jantjies has signed with the Stormers are not only premature, they may be well wide of the mark.
Ongoing speculation in the Cape Town media have it that Jantjies, who earned his first Bok cap off the bench against Australia in Pretoria last Saturday, has already signed a loan agreement to play for the Stormers in next year's Super Rugby tournament.
However, this has been dismissed as factually incorrect by both Golden Lions Rugby Union President Kevin de Klerk and WP Rugby Managing Director Rob Wagner.
This website can reveal that the Lions will, in the next few weeks, unveil their plans for all the players who - like Jantjies - have clauses in his contract that allows him to play Super Rugby for another franchise now that the Johannesburg-based team is relegated from the competition.
Rookie Springbok Jaco Taute is top of the shopping list of more than just one franchise, whole fellow Boks Pat Cilliers and Bandise Maku, as well as lock Michael Rhodes and hooker Callie Visagie are also being targeted.
However, De Klerk dismissed the notion that the Lions have already agreed to let any f them go.
"It is not true, absolutely not," the Lions boss told this website when asked if Jantjies will be "loaned" to the Stormers next year.
"He does have the clause in his contract [that allows him to play Super Rugby for another franchise]," De Klerk said, adding: "There is no final or decisive answer at this stage."
Asked when there will be finality about which players will be loaned to which franchises, De Klerk said he may have a better idea by next week.
The WP and Stormers boss, Wagner, also dismissed out of hand reports that Jantjies will play in Cape Town.
"There is nothing formal," Wagner told this website, when asked about the ongoing speculation about the Lions' players.
Wagner admitted he had some "exploratory" discussions with Jantjies' agent.
"He contacted me to say he [Jantjies] is available," the Wagner said.
"However, there has been no further discussions. We have not even discussed any details, like retainers or anything.
"We have talked purely on availability - that is the factual position at this time."
This is in stark contrast the reports that Jantjies, who has also been courted by the Sharks, has decided to move to Cape Town for next year's Super Rugby competition.
The Stormers will have one former Lion in their camp next year, with Baby Bok lock Ruan Botha having signed a two-year contract.
Taute, who made his Test debut as Bok captain Jean de Villiers's midfield partner in the 31-8 win over Australia last Saturday, has been linked to the Bulls.
Cilliers, Maku, Rhodes and Visagie are also being courted by more than one franchise.
By Jan de Koning
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