Lions to sign Butch

Johannesburg - The MTN Lions are set to continue their resurgence, and announce the signing of top Springbok Butch James on Tuesday.

While the Lions will not confirm anything before the announcement, sources close to the player believe he has come to terms with Bath to leave the English Premier club, and join the Lions under coach John Mitchell as from the end of the European season.

The Lions are also close to announcing the signing of BJ Botha, who is also keen to return to ensure a place in the World Cup squad.

According to reliable sources close to the Lions, James will be unveiled at an announcement at Lanseria International Airport on Tuesday morning.

James has made no secret that he wants to return to South Africa in a bid to claim a place for the World Cup, and at 32 years of age, it may well be his swansong.

However, with top flyhalf Elton Jantjies still developing, and Andre Pretorius and Burton Francis on their books, it may seem strange that the Lions are signing another flyhalf.

The union has not been shy with cash after big money investments from IT Mogul Robert Gumede and Ivan Ichikowitz a few months back, but despite a string of signings, have failed to come up with a big name on their books.

After initially looking for Frans Steyn’s signature from Racing Metro, they focused on James, who is in the country to get married this coming weekend.

James is playing some of the best rugby of his life in Bath at the moment, and was a key part of the 2007 Rugby World Cup winning squad.

Meanwhile Botha is said to be “in the final stages of negotiation” with the Lions for a move there from Ulster, where he has been playing for the past few years.

Botha has been recalled to the Bok camp, and was part of the Tri Nations squad this year, and Springbok coach Peter de Villiers has made no secret of the fact he wants him to play his rugby in South Africa in the future.

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