After the Kings’ withdrawal from domestic competitions, captain JC Astle and promising loose forward Elrigh Louw are set to make their exits from the franchise.
This comes after the Kings board withdrew the team from participation in any planned domestic rugby competitions in 2020, a decision taken in the face of hard, financial realities of the Covid-19 lockdown.
Netwerk24 reports that Astle, who led the side during the 2019-20 PRO14 season, is preparing to join French second-division club Rouen Normandie as a medical joker, essentially a replacement for a contracted player who is out with a long-term injury.
The 29-year-old lock was reportedly awaiting a new contract from the Kings, as was experienced prop Schalk Ferreira and scrumhalf Stefan Ungerer.
Astle, who was born in Queenstown in the Eastern Cape, was into his second stint with the Kings, having also played for the franchise in 2016.
However, he is not the only one leaving as it was confirmed on Thursday that Junior Springbok loose forward Elrigh Louw had joined the Vodacom Bulls, effective immediately.
The highly-rated 20-year-old had only signed for the Kings in 2019 and was playing in his debut first-class season.
Bulls director of rugby Jake White expressed his delight in Louw’s signing as the Bulls continued their preparation for the return of rugby in South Africa.
‘We are delighted that Elrigh has agreed to join the #BullsFamily as he is a young flanker with a bright future,’ White said.
‘He has proven in the Guinness PRO14 that he can compete against the some of world rugby’s finest players, and not only has he held his own but excelled while at it.’
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