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Thu Apr 17 02:54:31 SAST 2014

Golden Lions to start with a clean slate

LIAM DEL CARME | 03 August, 2012 06:360 Comments
John Mitchell and Carlos Spencer during the MTN Lions media open day at Johannesburg Stadium, A Field on April 11, 2012 in Johannesburg
Image by: Duif du Toit / Gallo Images

THE GOLDEN Lions may enlist the help of consultants in the Currie Cup to replace departing backline coach Carlos Spencer and fitness expert Wayne Taylor.

Spencer and Taylor's contracts were terminated earlier this week following the Lions' bottom-place finish in the Super 15. A clause in the pair's contracts left them vulnerable to that eventuality.

Lions acting CEO Ruben Moggee confirmed yesterday that the search for replacements for Spencer and Taylor would be part of a wider review of the union's coaching structures.

"We'll have a strategy session next week in which we'll have a look at the structure in its entirety. We don't have a high-performance manager or a director of rugby. Before we make appointments we have to make sure we do so within a proper framework. We've started talking about replacements but we haven't drawn up a shortlist.

"We must also be cognisant of the fact that [suspended coach] John [Mitchell's] disciplinary hearing is ongoing. Technically, he is still the head coach. We have to be careful how we approach this, not because we want to do anything underhanded or misleading but there are practical considerations. The hearing will probably only be sorted out in September anyway."

In the meantime, the Lions have to move swiftly as they play their Currie Cup opener against the Free State Cheetahs at Ellis Park next Saturday.

Johan Ackermann will continue as acting head coach.

"We have to look at who is available to step in as a consultant," Moggee said about potential back-up to Ackermann.

"We have capable people within our structures to survive next week," assured Moggee.

The Lions have in the recent past had a director of rugby.

Dick Muir served that role before Mitchell's arrival, while Jake White, through his "Winning Ways" programme, served as a consultant before that.

Neither initiative met success. Spencer and Taylor were taken aback by the way in which they were informed of their dismissal.

"I was very surprised and disappointed in the way it was handled, and after two-and-a-half years of hard graft, I would have expected a little more," Taylor said.

"There was a performance clause in my contract but it was exercised very late. I will be making some decisions over the next few days about whether to take legal action."

Josh Strauss stepped down as captain this week.

Prop JC Janse van Rensburg will lead the team in the friendly against the Blue Bulls tonight, but a regular captain has yet to be named.

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