The Lions remain in discussion with Malcolm Marx in the growing hope they will not have to bid farewell to their World Cup-winning Springbok star, writes CRAIG LEWIS.
When SA rugby’s now well-publicised 21-day contractual exit window closed in mid-May, the Lions confirmed Marx was one of four players who would be parting ways with the Johannesburg-based franchise.
That news came just after Marx had finally managed to return to South Africa after initially battling to get back home as the spread of the coronavirus left the travel industry in turmoil, with several South Africans stranded in Japan for some time before finally boarding a repatriation flight.
Prior to the outbreak of the pandemic, Marx had planned to finish the season in Japan where he had been playing for the Shining Arcs, but was then set rejoin the Lions from the middle of the year.
That outlook seemed to change, though, when the highly regarded hooker was named among the group who seemingly opted to exercise the exit clause that was part of the collective SA rugby industry agreement.
Yet, it’s now emerged that this may not be so cut and dry.
Reports from the weekend first suggested there were enquiries into the binding rights to cancel a contract that apparently had yet to come into effect.
The Lions have since confirmed to SARugbymag.co.za that they remain in ongoing discussions with Marx and his representatives, and talk that he could ultimately end up staying in South Africa increasingly appears to be a real possibility.
Fellow World Cup-winner Elton Jantjies recently opted to commit to the Lions despite the option of an overseas exit, while there is talk that sought-after centre Wandisile Simelane could also decide to remain in Johannesburg.
As it stands, the Lions will only officially provide confirmation once negotiations have been completed, but it will please the Ellis Park faithful to know that Marx is not lost to the cause just yet.