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Johannesburg – With a month to go to the kick-off of this year’s Super Rugby competition, the Lions have yet to secure a major sponsor to replace MTN, whose sponsorship of the union’s teams ended last year.
While the Lions, who did not play Super Rugby last season – making way for the Kings – are hard at work preparing for their re-entry into the competition, the men in suits at Ellis Park have made securing sponsorship the number one priority.
“It’s top of our list,” said Golden Lions Rugby Union CEO Manie Booysen yesterday.
“We’re awaiting feedback from several people, but there are a few exciting prospects in store.
“Also, with 2014 being our 125 year anniversary we have a few other ideas we’re discussing with some people.”
Booysen admitted the poor economic climate, together with the news of MTN’s withdrawal coming so late last year, made it extremely difficult to negotiate with potential sponsors now.
Of course, with no South African team guaranteed a place in Super Rugby – with the likelihood of a promotion-relegation match again being played at the end of this season, to allow the Kings a chance to return to the southern hemisphere’s top competition, sponsors could also be cautious about where they invest their money.
Booysen though is confident he’ll have good news to share with his staff and Lions fans soon.
Meanwhile, Johan Ackermann and his coaching team kick off a three-day training camp in Muldersdrift this morning.
Ackermann has said the camp will serve to help integrate the new players into the Lions group and allow him time to sharpen up on training phases.
The Lions will play three warm-up matches before starting their Super Rugby challenge, starting a week from today when they face the Leopards at Ellis Park.
They also face the Kings in Port Elizabeth on February 1 before wrapping up the pre-season with a match against the Sharks on February 7.
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