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Kevin de Klerk © Gallo Images

Q&A with Lions president

Golden Lions Rugby Union president Kevin de Klerk joined us for a Q&A session on Tuesday afternoon.

Kevin answered questions ranging from Super Rugby promotion/relegation to stadium switches and a whole lot in between.

Below is what he had to say.

The question and answer session has closed.

Questions and answers
Cornel Smith asked:
Kevin Huge Lion fan for life, please tell me if there is any chance that we could see all six teams of SA in the superrugby competition after 2015.
Kevin de Klerk answered:
Hello Cornel. This is a possibility and is a likelihood as new terms, conditions and formats will be negotiated upon expiration of the current SANZAR tournament agreements. This being the perogative and mandate of SA Rugby. Thank you for your question.
WAYNE asked:
Kevin de Klerk answered:
Hi Wayne. I believe that SARU will not go against their word. This was a decision taken by the General Council and the matter has been resolved. The games will go ahead in July and August. Thanks for your question!
Mark Otto asked:
Hello Kevin,
I guess there is only one question that really needs to be answered here. When will the Lions roar again?
Thank you
Kevin de Klerk answered:
Hello Mark. Thanks for the question. I believe we are already roaring with our brand new competition. This tournament is providing a wonderful spectacle for fans and is giving our players adequate preparation for the promotion/relegation games later this year.
Japie asked:
Good Day Mr. De klerk

Will the Lions players that has been loaned to other franchises make their return for the next relegation match at the end of the season? If so is this fair to the players currently playing?
Kevin de Klerk answered:
Hi Japie. In terms of the loan contracts to other Unions, these players - except Elton Jantjies - are bound to return to the Lions for these games. When these players return to the Lions, they will be assessed fairly alongside the current players. All players will be assessed on their merits.
Darryl asked:
Hi Kevin I''m a big LIONS supporter from CT just wanna thank you for sticking with the lions through thick and thin like me regardless of what others say

My question:
sorry I dont have any........keep up the good work
Kevin de Klerk answered:
Hi Darryl. Thank you for your kind well wishes. It is so good to see people who share my passion for this Union, which goes back to 1968. Keep up the good work!
Andries kruger asked:
Would like to know if it wouldn`t be a good finacial boost if we move to soccer city. For us as supporters it would defnitly be much easier to attend matches aswell as safer. So i believe even ticket sales will defnitly be much better. Also soccer city spoke about huge amounts of cash they would put in. Thanx for good work you guys are doing.
Kevin de Klerk answered:
Hi Andries. We have visited both models/options extensively over the last few years. It is felt that, for the time being, Ellis Park is still representative of Lions Rugby. It is the field of dreams and is held in high regard all over the world. It is a first class venue. Obviously as is the case with most older-positioned stadiums, access is always a problem. However, we are working extremely hard to make our facilities better for the public and have already instituted a number of actions to assist them. For example, more park and ride facilities and negotiations with the City of Johannesburg for Gautrain access. Thanks for your question and support.
Anthony asked:
Hi Kevin

1st of all, congrats with the team performance so far this year! Must say the guys look like a new team who''s enjoying playing rugby. My question to you is why the John Mitchell saga did take so long to be completed and why was he reappointed as a technical advisor when we knew that he wanted to leave the Lions? Its also a fact that he is bad for Lions rugby although we won the Currie cup in 2011 under he''s coaching but it was a well known secret that the guys were very unhappy with he''s coaching style. Surely he is costing us still millions to be on our books and we had the opportunity to get rid of him during the hearing and the negotiations last year.

Good luck for the season and I trust we will see the Lions back in Super Rugby in 2014!
Kevin de Klerk answered:
Hi Anthony. Thank you very much for your question. Please be assured that the Union observed all correct legal protocols in this instance with John Mitchell. Often due to availability of legal teams, these processes take longer than we would've liked. Also, please be advised that John is only going to consult for the Lions as and when we need his assistance. John is a man of great rugby knowledge and experience and should our coaching staff need help, they will make use of his expertise.
Julian Ives asked:
Hi Kevin,

Will there be any sort of compensation from SARU after the decision to drop us from Super Rugby? If so will it, along with income from the Lions Challenge, really be sufficient for the already financially challenged union to survive?

Thanks for your time. Super Rugby or no Super Rugby, the Lions will always have us die hard fans.
Kevin de Klerk answered:
Hi Julian. Unfortunately there will be no additional assistance from SA Rugby but we are working hard with the Lions Challenge series and our gracious sponsors to ensure that we can lighten this burden. Thanks for your question.
Nick asked:
Mr De Klerk, if the situation arises that the Lions do not make it back to the Super 15 in 2014, what are your contingency plans? Surely playing in Canada etc cannot be a long-term plan?
Kevin de Klerk answered:
Hi Nick. You are correct - it is the primary objective of the GLRU to be reinstated back into the Super Rugby competition. I must emphasise, however, that in the unlikely event that we do not return to the competition, one should not underplay or ignore the teams we are playing in the Lions Challenge. Thank you for your question!
Will asked:
Afternoon Kevin, just wanted to compliment you on the Lions Challenge series, great idea. Nice to see that there is fight left in the lions. All the best.
Kevin de Klerk answered:
Hi Will. Thank you so much for your support. We at the Lions put a great value on supporters such as yourself and give you assurance that we will never lay down. As we did, against all odds snatch the Currie Cup in 2011, our aim is to return to Super Rugby and claim the Currie Cup in 2013. Thanks again for your kind support.
Keegan asked:
What happened to Michael Killian? Havnt seen him around for a while now?
Kevin de Klerk answered:
Hi Keegan. I am probably one of Michael Killian's greatest fans and I was certainly sad to see him take up his residence in Port Elizabeth, from where he comes. Michael's contract had come to an end and he also a number of interests in the Port Elizabeth area and thus he needed to pursue these for his future. I certainly miss Michael as a player and a person and wish him every success with his future ventures.
Greg Crighton asked:
Why have the Lions refused to engage Soweto Rugby Club and to tap into a lifeline to the union. A move to FNB and complete rebranding of the union is the way to go. Lions need to start an academy and attract youngsters to Joburg. Your thoughts?
Kevin de Klerk answered:
Hi Greg. Thanks for your questions. Soweto Rugby Club, together with other clubs in the Soweto region, are members of our club structures here at the GLRU and are part and parcel of our leagues too. I believe our brand is immensely strong and do not believe that an entire rebranding process is necessary. As stated previously, a move away from Ellis Park at this stage in time does not make economical sense and such an exercise has been extensively researched.
Clifford asked:
How do we start getting bums on seats at Ellis Park? Have we got a new sponsor for the Stadium?
Kevin de Klerk answered:
Hi Clifford. Thanks for your questions! The best way to get bums on seats is for us to request YOU - our much valued supporters - to continue your support. Of course the team's performance is important but I am sure you will agree that the brand of rugby the Lions are playing at the moment is proving to be immensely attractive. We are in negotiations with several parties to take up the naming rights sponsorship of Ellis Park.
Wayne asked:
Has being relegated from Super rugby put financial strain on the lions and will they move from Ellis park
Kevin de Klerk answered:
Hi Wayne. There is no doubt that the dumping of the Lions out of the Super Rugby tournament will have effected us. I must, however, commend our gracious sponsors, season ticket holders and suite holders who have stuck by us and lightened this burden. The Lions will not move from Ellis Park in the near future. Thanks for your questions.
Ejaaz asked:
I think why alot of Lions fans dont attend the games at Ellis park is because of its location. Would be lovely to have it around the Sandton area
Kevin de Klerk answered:
Hi Ejaaz. Thanks for your comments. The Lions have, during the past two seasons, hosted Currie Cup finals, semi-finals and Springbok Tests with great success. Our incident reports from both the SA Police and Ellis Park security have been at a minimum and, in fact, well below a lot of other stadiums in this country. The park and ride facilities that have been provided and the management by staff and security on match days has been refined. This will give you, as fans, the best outing possible but please continue to advise us of any areas where we can improve!

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