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New Lions owner makes history

South Africa's Lions franchise has become the first rugby club to have a black owner after a landmark deal was signed with entrepreneur Robert Gumede.

The IT mogul and Guma Group executive chairman has bought a 49.9% stake in the Johannesburg-based union, backed by an undertaking to improve on their recent fortunes of the past few years.

The Lions, previously a domestic powerhouse, have been the country's poorest performers in the southern hemisphere Super Rugby competition, finishing in the bottom three in each of the last five seasons.

Locally they have not won the premier Currie Cup tournament for more than 10 years.

Gumede, a former owner of football club, Dangerous Darkies, has vowed to turn around their fortunes.

He said: "We are investing for performance. Our aim is to drive this team in every respect, so that we develop the franchise at all levels, from the junior ranks all the way to the Super Rugby team.

"We want the Lions leading the pack, taking it to its next level, and contributing Springboks to this country."

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