The Kings went into administration this week and with their PRO14 future now in serious doubt, players are understandably ready to jump.
Reports in South Africa suggest that Cameron Wright, Yaw Penxe, Jacques du Toit and Bobby de Wee are all set to leave to the beleaguered franchise, who have struggled with financial issues more or less since their inception.
RugbyPass understand that Worcester Warriors are now in advanced talks with De Wee, after the flanker turned down the advances of a Championship in recent weeks. Although listed as a backrow on the South Kings website, the 6’5, 109kg De Wee is equally adept in the second row.
The 26-year-old moved to the Southern Kings from the Lions in 2017, and has gone on to make over 25 appearances for the club.
De Wee’s exit won’t be the last from the ailing Kings, who are now realistically facing extinction as a rugby club. The Kings shareholders, the Eastern Province Rugby Union (EPRU) and SA Rugby, took the decision to liquidate the franchise in the face of an accumulated deficit of R55m (€2.8 million), and with zero income in prospect for the remainder of 2020.
“The hard fact is that the Kings are insolvent, with significant debts and zero assets and it would have been reckless of the board to continue to trade,” said board chairman Andre Rademan.
“Its continuation would have required loans from the EPRU and loans additional to the R45m that the company already owes to SA Rugby. In the absence of any rugby in 2020, and without any guarantees as to income prospects for 2021, it would have been financially irresponsible of the shareholders to have pumped in further funding.”
Mark Alexander, SA Rugby president, added that extending additional credit to an insolvent entity at a time when the rugby industry is required to make a saving of R1.2bn to stay afloat this year was not an option.
Clubs across Europe and at home and in South Africa are now circling for the many Kings’ players that now find themselves jobless.
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