No more 'Bulldog' bite as Dylan Smith waves goodbye to the Lions faithful

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Dylan Smith. (Getty Images)
Dylan Smith. (Getty Images)

Dylan Smith has become the latest stalwart to wave Ellis Park goodbye.

The Lions on Monday announced that the 27-year-old loosehead prop, who played in two Super Rugby finals and clinched a Currie Cup title in 2015, and the franchise had agreed to a "mutual separation with immediate effect".

The man affectionately known as "Bulldog" among his team-mates follows influential lock Marvin Orie, who didn't renew his contract and opted to join Western Province.

"I would like to take this opportunity to wish the Lions all the best for the future. A big thank you to the players, coaches and administrators, you have all made such a big impact on my life over these last eight years," Smith said in a statement.

While Orie's departure perhaps stretches the Lions' depth in the second row, that's not quite the case in the front row.

Despite donning the mantle as one of South African rugby's best young scrummagers a few years ago, Smith has been ravaged by injury over that period too and his form consequently suffered as a result.

In his absence, Sti Sithole established himself as the first-choice loosehead at the franchise, with the dual junior international Nathan McBeth also being afforded game-time in the preparation series.

21-year-old Banele Mthenjane is also knocking on the door and delivered an energetic performance as substitute against the EP Elephants last week.

The experienced Ruan Dreyer, who returned from Gloucester during lockdown, is also considered an option in the position though his primary role has been that of tighthead.

"It has been incredible watching you develop into the player you are today, all the best 'Bulldog'," said Rudolf Straeuli, the Lions' CEO.  

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