Jaco Kriel will only be able to play for the Lions again later this season following his return to Ellis Park after undergoing ankle surgery in December.
The Lions recently announced that Kriel had successfully rejoined the franchise after an injury-marred two-year spell at English Premiership side Gloucester.
While fans will keenly anticipate his impact on the team, Kriel is still busy with his rehabilitation from an ankle injury and is likely only to be back in early April.
The 30-year-old told the media after Lions training on Tuesday that he had no regrets about joining former coach Johan Ackermann at Gloucester.
‘Things just didn’t work out very well there,’ Kriel said. ‘It was a great experience to go over there. I am glad that I went, otherwise I would have always wondered about it. Myself and coach Ackers had a long chat, and I told him I had to go to where I would be happy. He said if I felt the best thing was to move back to the Lions he’d let me go. He said there were no hard feelings.’
Plenty has changed since Kriel was last at the Lions. There is a new coaching staff, headed up by Ivan van Rooyen, who is being assisted by Kriel’s teammate Warren Whiteley, currently on the sidelines himself with a knee injury.
‘It is wonderful to be back and see my best friends like Warren and Andries [Coetzee]. It feels a bit weird to see Warren as a coach now,’ Kriel said.
‘There are a lot of new guys in the mix, but I do know most of them, having worked with them when they were in the junior ranks here at the union.’
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Photo: Sydney Seshibedi/Gallo Images