Cape Town — Lions captain Malcolm Marx says it will be sad to see the Sunwolves dumped out of Super Rugby at the end of the 2020 season.
It was confirmed last week that the tournament would part ways with the Japanese franchise, going back to the more traditional 14-team structure where everybody plays everybody.
It was a tough pill to swallow for the Sunwolves, who have shown marked improvement in 2019 despite losing five of their six matches this season.
Their one victory, however, came against the Chiefs in Hamilton in the form of a stunning 30-15 triumph.
On Saturday in Singapore, the Lions were also tested by the Sunwolves, emerging as 37-24 winners.
Speaking after the match, Marx sympathised with the Sunwolves.
"If you look at where they started and where they are now ... it doesn't matter if you are Australian, South African or from New Zealand, they will take you on," the Springbok hooker said.
"Their rugby has just gone from strength to strength for me.
"You can feel the home crowd get behind their team ... it's sad to hear that the Sunwolves will be leaving Super Rugby.
"You can see by the exciting brand of rugby that they are playing that they are a quality team."
The Sunwolves are next in action when they travel to Sydney to take on the Waratahs on Saturday while the Lions have a bye.