Paper Talk: Kriel seeking Lions return

A round up of what some of South Africa’s leading Sunday papers are saying, including a potential return to Vodacom Super Rugby for Jaco Kriel.

One of the major rugby stories in Rapport has an update on Jaco Kriel’s situation at Gloucester. According to the report, written by Hendrik Cronje, the Springbok flank would like to return to the Lions. The 30-year-old, who left Ellis Park for Gloucester in 2018, has reportedly already spoken to both the Lions and Gloucester about his plans to move back to Johannesburg and the expectation is that he would be allowed to return. Kriel has struggled to build any sort of form during his time at the Kingsholm Stadium, with injuries limiting him to just 16 appearances for Johan Ackermann’s side. Gloucester also boast impressive depth in the loose-trio, with Ruan Ackermann, England internationals Ben Morgan and Lewis Ludlow and Italian flank Jake Polledri all competing for places in the starting lineup. A move back to Johannesburg could help Kriel re-ignite his career.

Staying with Rapport and it appears that the Vodacom Bulls are looking towards Saracens to add depth to their second row. According to the story, also written by Cronje, the Bulls have shown an interesting in recruiting Wallabies lock Will Skelton. The Bulls suffered an exodus among their experienced locks in the off-season, losing all of Lood de Jager, RG Snyman, Jason Jenkins and Eli Snyman to overseas clubs. While Skelton would add plenty of much-needed experienced and bulk, his signing seems unlikely. Rugby Australia have made bringing Skelton back to his home country one of their main tasks this year, while he is on a R7,5 million a year deal at Saracens.

The Bulls have also shown interesting in bringing Vincent Koch back to the country, but the Springbok tighthead is reportedly committed to Saracens and would only leave if the club need to cut his wages to stay under the Premiership Rugby salary cap.

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