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Rugby - Lions coach De Bruin confident of return after stress illness

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By Reuters

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) – Lions coach Swys de Bruin expects to return to his job “soon” after leaving the team’s Super Rugby tour of Australasia with a stress-related illness.

De Bruin returned to South Africa on the advice of Lions team doctor Rob Collins and missed last weekend’s 23-17 victory over the Waikato Chiefs, as well as Friday’s clash with the Canterbury Crusaders.

“I got very good professional help and I believe I will be back at my job soon,” De Bruin told South Africa’s Netwerk24.

“I appreciate the incredible support I have received from the people out there. It means a lot to me and my family.”

The Lions have reached the last three Super Rugby finals, losing all, but have endured a mixed campaign in 2019, the second in charge for De Bruin since he took over from Johan Ackermann, winning five of their nine games before this weekend.

Lions chief executive Rudolf Straeuli says they are backing De Bruin, but also would not put a timeframe on his return having signed a new two-year contract with the coach earlier this month.

“We have got the best professional medical help for him and he will be evaluated. Luckily, next week we have a bye, so this gives us more time to see how things are going and what way we can go.

De Bruin is also scheduled to be part of the Springbok technical team at the Rugby World Cup in Japan later this year, where he is assistant to head coach Rassie Erasmus.

(Reporting By Nick Said; Editing by Ian Ransom)