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Lions sack Kiwi coaches Spencer & Taylor

Josh Strauss has also been replaced as captain

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Article Published: Thursday 2 August 2012|

The Golden Lions have terminated coaching contracts with backline coach Carlos Spencer and conditioning coach Wayne Taylor and dropped Josh Strauss as captain.

The Lions start their Currie Cup season next week and prop JC Janse van Rensburg hgas replaced Strauss as captain for this weekend's warm up against the Blue Bulls.

The Lions have not appointed Janse van Rensburg on a permanent basis but it could become permanent.

The Golden Lions have exercised a clause in Spencer and Taylor's contracts and paid them two weeks' wages and offered them flights back to New Zealand.

As John Mitchell is still suspended forwards coach Johan Ackermann is the only remaining Super Rugby coach after he stepped in towards the end of the season.

Lions president Kevin de Klerk insisted that the union had followed the correct procedures.

"There was a clause in their contracts that gave us the right to terminate the contracts if the team finished last in Super Rugby, and following lengthy debates we opted to do so," De Klerk told Business day.

"But I have to stress that it was not an easy decision. The board of directors spoke about the matter in detail, and after considering a number of facts and the whole John Mitchell saga, we decided to follow that route."

De Klerk said that the Lions met with Taylor and Spencer last month and revealed to them that their contracts could be terminated.

However Taylor and Spencer said that they were given assurances from the union four weeks ago that their jobs would be safe despite Mitchell's expected departure only to be told by email that their contracts had been terminated.

"I received an e-mail saying my contract had been terminated with immediate effect, despite conversations a few weeks ago with the decision-makers in which they said they wanted us (himself and Spencer) to stay," said Taylor.

"I am very disappointed about the manner in which this was handled."

An incensed Spencer revealed that he had received a tip-off from Taylor on Tuesday night that he could be sacked so he went to the union yesterday to find out where he stood.

"I was basically sent an e-mail to that effect," said Spencer. "And only a few weeks ago I was told not to worry about my job."

"They looked me in the eye and said there was nothing to worry about.... I don't mind being fired, but the way was it was done left a bitter taste."

De Klerk has defended the manner in which the union informed Taylor and Spencer that their services were no longer required and said, "We followed the correct procedures in every aspect of the process. It is never pleasant to deliver such news."

Ackermann is expected to continue as Head Coach but the Lions will not make any permanent appointments until Mitchell's case has been finalised.

Meanwhile the Lions have named a team with a number of positional shuffles for this weekend's pre-Currie Cup warm-up clash against the Blue Bulls at Wits on Friday.

The Golden Lions team is:

15 Andries Coetzee, Ruan Combrinck, Lionel Mapoe, Waylon Murray, 11 Anthony Volmink, 10 Elton Jantjies, 9 Michael Bondesio, 8 Derick Minnie, 7 Joshua Strauss, 6 Jaco Kriel, 5 Franco van der Merwe, 4 Hendrik Roodt, 3 Jacobie Adriaanse, 2 Martin Bezuidenhout, 1 JC Janse van Rensburg (capt.).

Replacements: 16 Francois du Toit, 17 Caylib Oosthuizen, 18 Patric Cilliers, 19 Ruan Dreyer, 20 JC Wasserman, 21 Cobus Grobbelaar, 22 Warren Whiteley, 23 Willie Britz, 24 Ross Cronje, 25 Gus Cronje, 26 Justin St Jerry, 27 Chrysander Botha, 28 JR Esterhuizen, 29 Richard Aingworth, 30 Whestley Moolman, 31 Grant Janke

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