The Lions have parted ways with Springbok flanker Jaco Kriel with immediate effect.
The flanker, who led the Lions to Currie Cup glory when they beat Western Province in the 2015 final at Ellis Park, has signed a contract with Gloucester in the United Kingdom, where former Lions coach Johan Ackermann is in charge.
Kriel, 28, played 71 Super Rugby games for the Lions since his debut in 2011 and 44 for the Golden Lions and has 11 Bok caps behind his name.
It means that the last time Kriel played for the Lions was the Super Rugby final of last season at Ellis Park, where the Lions lost 25-17 to the Crusaders.
Kriel has not been in action since last year’s rugby championship when he injured his shoulder against Australia, and earlier this year he had to go under the knife for the second time after the injury didn’t recover properly despite the first operation at the end of last year.
“The Lions Rugby Company (Pty) Ltd. can confirm that Jaco Kriel has committed to a contract with UK-based Gloucester,” said the statement issued yesterday by the Lions.
“Jaco has unfortunately been plagued with injuries stemming from 2017’s international duty, and has therefore not been able to play for the Lions this season.
“We are always sad to lose a player, but to lose a player of this stature hurts the franchise and the industry.
“We wish Jaco a speedy recovery and rehabilitation and hope to see him plying his trade back in South Africa in the future.”