Super Rugby’s Lions are believed to be making a concerted effort to retain the services of World Cup-winning hooker Malcolm Marx. CEO Rudolf Straeuli confirmed to @rugby365.com that they are in conversation with Marx, as well as his agent and advisers.

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Marx, who played for the Shining Arcs in Japan since the World Cup last year, was one of several players who took the option to cancel their Lions contract under the terms of the controversial SA Rugby 21-day clause, a cost-cutting exercise aimed at saving money amid the Covid-19 crisis. 

Marx, Ruan Vermaak, Tyrone Green, Shaun Reynolds and Japan-bound assistant coach Neil de Bruin were all part of the Lions group that announced their departure earlier this month. At the time Straeuli said he “wished them well” on their journey ahead.

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However, on Wednesday he confirmed they have not given up on convincing Marx to stay at Ellis Park. “There is a very real possibility that Malcolm will stay,” Straeuli said to rugby365.com. “We would like Malcolm to stay and he wants to stay. Both parties are working hard to resolve the matter.”

Straeuli wasn’t willing to divulge too much detail, but it’s believed the issue revolves around the legality of cancelling a contract that only takes effect on July 1. Marx was scheduled to return to the Lions from July until October. They are also talking about a possible extension.

“There are several options,” continued Straeuli. “We want to retain him [Marx] for SA rugby. We are trying to be flexible in our negotiations.”

The 25-year-old has played 33 Tests for the Springboks since his debut against New Zealand in Christchurch in September 2016. He was a key member of the victorious World Cup campaign in Japan last year. 

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