The Sale Sharks announced on Monday that they had signed Faf de Klerk on a three-year deal, but the Lions insist that negotiations are still taking place.
According to a Sale press release, the 25-year-old Lions scrumhalf, who has 11 Test caps, will replace Wales No 9 Mike Phillips at the English Premiership club. Phillips announced that he will retire at the end of this season.
'Faf is tenacious, with a fantastic work rate,' said Sale director of rugby Steve Diamond. 'He dictates the tempo and direction of the game and I think he will fit in well both with our style of play, and with a young, ambitious squad.
'He's an unbelievable ball carrier, has a solid kicking game and he is exciting around the pitch. He sees the weakness in his opposition and can leverage this to his advantage. He's young, but has massive experience and this will be crucial in helping us to build on the foundations we have put in place this year.'
However, the Lions responded later in the day, saying they were still in negotiations with Sale.
'Negotiations are under way and I have not signed anything regarding the offer to De Klerk,' said Lions CEO Rudolf Streauli. 'The team is focused on their third game on tour and an official announcement will only be made once they are back.'
De Klerk will be the third South African recently to sign for Sale, along with Josh Strauss (Glasgow) and Jono Ross (Stade Français).
Photo: Wessel Oosthuizen/Gallo Images