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'It's a real shame' - Kriel exits Gloucester mid-season

By Online Editors
Jaco Kriel /Getty Images

Gloucester Rugby have confirmed that Jaco Kriel has been released early from his contract to return home to South Africa to re-join the Lions.

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The Springbok back row forward moved to Kingsholm in the summer of 2018, and quickly became one of the most well-respected players in the squad, popular with staff and supporters alike.

However, his time in Cherry and White has been disrupted by injuries and he has been limited to 20 first team appearances to date, including just five this season. He has been sidelined since late November with an ankle injury and has been continuing his rehabilitation back home in South Africa in recent weeks.

Director of Rugby David Humphreys confirmed that Kriel’s request to be released early from his contract had been agreed with a heavy heart.

“It’s a real shame. But Jaco has personal reasons for wanting to return home and, although we very much want him to stay, we are sympathetic to his request. We are fortunate that the back row is a position of strength for us.

“I’m personally really sorry to see Jaco leave Gloucester Rugby without him ever really getting the opportunity to show the supporters just how good a player he is. He’s been so unfortunate with injuries, but I’m delighted he’s now got the opportunity to get back playing Super Rugby with the Lions.

“Jaco’s ability and leadership qualities, and the standards he set in everything he did at the club, will be missed by everyone but I wish him every success for the rest of his career back in South Africa.”

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Meanwhile, Kriel admitted that he’s enjoyed his time at Gloucester Rugby and that the club will always hold a special place in his heart.

“I have genuinely loved it here. It’s an outstanding club with outstanding people and, despite the injuries, I don’t regret a moment of it. I’m just sorry that I couldn’t deliver more out there on the pitch.

“Gloucester Rugby will always mean a lot to me though, and I genuinely wish them all the very best going forwards and will have fond memories of my time as part of the Gloucester family – especially matchdays at Kingsholm, they were special moments.

“Thank you for making me so welcome – I will always appreciate that.”

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finn 6 hours ago
Why the world needs a reverse Lions tour

I think there’s a lot of reasons this wouldn’t work, but if we’re just proposing fun things how about a “World Series” held the june/july following a world cup. The teams competing each four years would be: the current world champions The Pacific Islands The British & Irish Lions The World XV Barbarians FC to ensure all teams are fairly evenly matched, the current world champions would name their squad first; then The Pacific Islands would name next, and would be able to select any pacific qualified players not selected by the world champions, including players already “captured” by non-pacific nations who would otherwise have been eligible for selection (eg. Bundee Aki); the Lions would select next; and then The World XV and Barbarians FC would be left to fight over anyone not selected. Some people will point out that 5 teams is too many for a mid-year round robin, particularly as it would be nice to have a final as well; and they would be right! But because we’re just having fun here we’re going to innovate an entirely new format for rugby, where the round robin is played in one stadium over the course of one day, with each game lasting just 40 minutes with no half time or change of ends. The round robin decides the seedings for the knockouts, which are contested by all 5 teams in one stadium over the course of one day, according to the following schedule: Knockout Round 1: seed 5 v seed 4 (contested over 1 half of indetermined length, finishing when one team reaches 7 points) ~ 10 minute break ~ Quarter Final: winner of Round 1 v seed 3 (contested over 1 half of indetermined length, finishing when one team reaches 7 points) ~ 10 minute break ~ Semi Final: winner of Quarter Final v seed 2 (contested over 1 half of indetermined length, finishing when one team reaches 7 points) ~ 10 minute break ~ Final: winner of Semi Final v seed 1 (played as a standard 80 minute rugby match) for the round robin, teams would name a 15 man starting lineup and a 16 man bench. Substitutions during games can only be made for injuries, but any number of substitutions can be made between games. The same rules apply for the finals, except that we return to having a regular 8 man bench, and would allow substitutions as normal during the 80 minute final.

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