Tim Whitehead has confirmed he will be leaving the Eastern Province Kings after ongoing non-payment of salaries. CRAIG LEWIS reports.
Whitehead could be the first of many players leaving the union, with the Kings having failed to pay October salaries. This may well be the last straw for many individuals.
On Tuesday night, a deadline from the South African Rugby Players’ Association for the Kings to make payment elapsed, with the players informed that they have now have the right to legally terminate their contracts.
Whitehead confirmed that the time had come for him to move on.
‘These problems have been going on for a while, and it’s been really tough for everyone affected,’ he told SARugbymag.co.za. ‘You just get to the point when enough is enough and you’ve got to make a difficult decision.’
The experienced centre, who has previously played for the Stormers and Sharks, said he was keeping his options open as he looked for the next step in his career.
‘I don’t have anything else secured at the moment, obviously playing in Super Rugby would have been first prize. For me, it’s about the lifestyle, and I’ll look at whatever options there are, locally or abroad, and see what’s out there.’
It now remains to be seen how many other players might also opt to leave the Kings, with no end in sight to the financial woes that have plagued the embattled union.
Players who decide to stay have also been informed that they have no obligation to report for duty, with the Kings having been expected to begin pre-season training next week as they prepare for a return to Vodacom Super Rugby next year.
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