• Ellis Park to be renamed

    Ellis Park will be called Emirates Airline Park as part of the Lions' new five-year sponsorship deal with the global company.

    The agreement will see Emirates become the title sponsor of the Lions Super Rugby team, known as the Emirates Lions. The deal will start from 1 January 2015 and also includes in-stadia hospitality as well as a number of other marketing rights and activities.

    Lions CEO Rudolf Straeuli says the cash injection provided from the new deal will help to develop rugby at grassroots level and will allow them to grow the Lions brand globally.

    'At the Golden Lions Rugby Union we pride ourselves on growth and performance. We are thus thrilled to partner with Emirates – a world-leader in its field who is constantly looking to expand and develop,' said Straeuli. 'We are tremendously grateful to Emirates for their support and belief. It is wonderful to have financial stability, as a result of the support from this international, iconic brand, over the next five years.

    'We are looking forward to working closely together in not only developing rugby at grassroots level in both South Africa and the United Arab Emirates, but also expanding the game of rugby across the globe. As 2015 will mark the 20th anniversary of the Springboks’ 1995 World Cup win at Ellis Park, it is exciting for us to have secured Emirates as a stadium sponsor from next year. We know that we will share many more happy memories, alongside Emirates, at this hallowed ground.'

    Meanwhile, the Lions have announced a list of contracted players for the 2015 Vodacom Super Rugby tournament.

    Senior contracted Lions players for 2015 – Justin Ackerman, Fabian Booysen, Marnitz Boshoff, Andries Coetzee, Robbie Coetzee, Ruan Combrink, Ross Cronjé, Ashlon Davids, JJ de Kock, Stefan de Witt, Ruan Dreyer, JP du Plessis, Damian Engledoe, Lourens Erasmus, JR Esterhuizen, Selom Gavor, Lambert Groenewald, Stokkies Hanekom, Deon Helberg, Alwyn Hollenbach, Lohan Jacobs, Elton Jantjies, Jaco Kriel, Ruaan Lerm, MB Lusaseni, Lionel Mapoe, Devon  Marthinus (on loan to Leopards), Sampie Mastriet, Derek Minnie, Howard Mnisi, Franco Mostert, Tyson Mulamba, Martin Muller, Jacques Nel, Mark Pretorius, Julian Redelinghuys, Mark Richards, Ricky Schroeder, Courtnall Skosan, Albertus Smith, Warwick Tecklenburg, Armand van der Merwe, Schalk van der Merwe, Schalk van Heerden, Ruan van Rensburg (on loan to Leopards), Jacques van Rooyen, Ruan Venter, Anthony Volminck, Harold Vorster, Willie Wepener, Warren Whiteley, Vainon Willis, Corné Fourie (on loan from Pumas), Faf de Klerk (on loan from Pumas), Rudi Matthee (on loan from Pumas), Stefan Watermeyer (on loan from Pumas), Obi Luther (on loan from Leopards), Mahuza Sylvian (on loan from Leopards), Robbertse Francois (on loan from Leopards).

    Photo: Barry Aldworth/BackpagePix

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    Simon Borchardt