Kriel re­turns to the pride

The Citizen (KZN) - - Sport - Ru­dolph Ja­cobs

In a timely boost for the bat­tered Li­ons, for­mer flank and cap­tain Jaco Kriel (be­low) has con­firmed he is back with the union for the rest of the Su­per Rugby cam­paign, af­ter be­ing re­leased early from his con­tract with Glouces­ter.

Kriel’s ex­pe­ri­ence and lead­er­ship could serve as in­spi­ra­tion for the younger play­ers in the Li­ons team, who were crushed 38-8 by the Jaguares in their sea­son opener in Buenos Aires last week.

An an­kle in­jury, how­ever, could pre­vent him from be­ing thrown in the mix for this week­end’s first home game against the Reds.

“I’m proud to an­nounce that I’ve re­joined the Li­ons on a three­year deal,” the 30-year-old Kriel said yes­ter­day.

“It’s re­ally great to be back and I’m on my way to the union now to start my new job and jour­ney and con­tinue with the boys that I love and missed so much.”

Af­ter play­ing 11 Tests and 71 Su­per Rugby games, Kriel left for Glouces­ter in 2018 where his game time had been lim­ited due to in­juries and play­ing con­di­tions.

“I also missed all the Li­ons fans and I can’t wait to see all the sup­port­ers there this week­end for our first home game of the sea­son against the Reds.

“I can’t wait for all the sup­port­ers to fill up the sta­dium like back in the day and I want to say thank you for all the pos­i­tive messages I’ve al­ready re­ceived from those who are wel­com­ing me back home.”

Mean­while, ac­cord­ing to an in­jury up­date re­leased by the Li­ons, scrumhalf An­dre Warner was also in doubt for this week­end’s clash af­ter pick­ing up an an­kle sprain last week, and he was due to go for a scan yes­ter­day.

There was some good news for the squad, how­ever, as cen­tre Dan Kriel, who left the field early against the Jaguares af­ter a midair col­li­sion, should be ready for this week’s fix­ture and scrumhalf Ross Cronje is also on the mend.

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