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Rumour has it that the Lion pride is set to swell as former players could return

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The Lions could be boosted further should the rumours be true that a number of former players are headed back to Joburg.

Rabz Maxwane's arrival at the Lions could just be the start of an influx of players. Picture: Deryck Foster / BackpagePix

THE LIONS are today expected to unveil wing Rabz Maxwane as a new player on their books, while rumours continue to do the rounds that a few former Lions are set to return to Joburg as well.

Twenty-four year-old Maxwane, who has played at the Cheetahs in Bloemfontein for the last four years, is understood to have signed a deal with the Joburg side.

Maxwane will compete with the likes of Courtnall Skosan, Steam Pienaar, Jamba Ulengo and new recruit from the Bulls, Divan Rossouw, for a place in the Lions starting team when rugby gets going again, following the suspension of all sport locally due to the spread of the coronavirus.

The former Dale College star’s arrival in Joburg will offset the loss of Tyrone Green, who recently opted to end his contract with the Lions and further his career in England, while the future of Aphiwe Dyantyi is uncertain following his failing a drugs test last year.

But the Lions could be boosted further in the backs department should the rumours be true that centre Lionel Mapoe, who joined Stade Francais after last year’s Super Rugby campaign, is headed back to Joburg.

He played 108 games for the franchise between 2011 and 2019 and also earned 14 Bok caps while wearing the red and white jersey.

Another former Lions back, wing and seven-Test Springbok, Ruan Combrinck, has also been mentioned in some circles as being involved in talks to swap Stade Francais, who he joined with Mapoe at this time last year, for the Lions again.

The 30-year-old played 72 Super Rugby games for the Lions between 2012 before moving to France.

And, two more former Lions players have also allegedly been linked with a move back to the team they represented so well under Johan Ackermann, namely props Ruan Dreyer and Jacques van Rooyen.

Dreyer (29) joined Gloucester a year after Ackermann took up the club’s reins in England after playing 80 Super Rugby matches for the Lions, but an Achilles injury (and subsequent surgery on the foot in October last year) ended his season and it is believed he is currently not affiliated with any team.

Van Rooyen, too, left the Lions in 2018 after playing 66 Super Rugby games, but is understood to be looking to leave Bath in England. He may, however, be heading to Japan to take up a contract there.

Two other Lions targets are believed to be former team-mates of utility back Rossouw at the Bulls, namely recent captain and centre Burger Odendaal and hooker Jaco Visagie.

While the Lions recently “lost” Green, Shaun Reynolds, Ruan Vermaak and Malcolm Marx, they also gained former stars Jaco Kriel (Gloucester) and Willem Alberts (Stade Francais), as well as veteran tighthead prop Jannie du Plessis (Montpellier).