Kriel to make Japan switch


Lions flanker Jaco Kriel will join Japanese club Kubota Spears at the end of the Super Rugby season, but will return for the 2017 campaign.

The 26-year-old, who was named in the South Africa squad for the upcoming series against Ireland, will not feature in the Currie Cup after agreeing a two-year deal with the Funabashi-based Top League outfit.

Kriel said: "I am looking forward to the opportunity of living and playing abroad and bringing back new ideas to my Lions team-mates, which has successfully been done by Elton [Jantjies], Lionel [Mapoe] and Warwick [Tecklenburg] in the past.

"I feel I can contribute immensely and I really look forward to the challenge. Kubota has established an exciting team of players and coaches for this season and I am excited to be part of this new chapter."

Lions chief executive Rudolf Straeuli stated: "We see this as an opportunity which is mutually beneficial to both the Golden Lions Rugby Union and our players as we therefore manage to secure their services for a longer period of time."