The Lions have confirmed that, upon request from Elton Jantjies, the experienced flyhalf has been released to serve as a medical joker with French club Pau.
It was announced on Tuesday that this move was also conducted in conjunction with SA Rugby, and with preparation for the British & Irish Lions series in mind.
It was further stated that the Lions and SA Rugby are in communication with Elton ‘post the opportunity’ in France.
In the middle of last year, Jantjies had explained why he agreed to a contract extension at the Lions despite receiving several lucrative offers from overseas clubs.
At the conclusion of SA Rugby’s 21-day contract exit window, the Lions parted ways with Malcolm Marx, Ruan Vermaak, Tyrone Green, Shaun Reynolds and coach Neil de Bruin. Assistant coach Joey Mongalo also left the union to join Jake White’s Vodacom Bulls.
Jantjies, however, opted not to enact the 21-day exit clause, turning down offers from French clubs Agen and Pau to stay in Johannesburg.
‘I don’t play rugby for the money,’ he said. ‘I play rugby for the right reasons and money is definitely not one of them.
‘The Lions team is special to me and it’s where my heart is. I’m part of the Lions’ leadership and I’m not going to make a quick decision and turn my back on the union in pursuit of money,’ he added.
His release now comes amid doubts over whether the Rainbow Cup will be proceeding as planned.
Upon request from Elton Jantjies and in conjunction with SA Rugby, LRC has released the player for an opportunity as medical joker with Pau in preparation for the British & Irish Lions. LRC & SA Rugby are in communication with Elton post the opportunity granted.#LionsPride pic.twitter.com/Ra3pYrcvCo
— Lions (@LionsRugbyCo) April 13, 2021