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Problems for the Southern Kings entry into Super Rugby next year are deepening as players have started leaving after months of not being paid for playing.
Former Shark and Kings captain Tim Whitehead has confirmed that he is leaving the Eastern Province club. His departure comes after months of players not being paid their salaries or being paid late.
Whitehead appears to be the first of many players to leave the Port Elizabeth-based franchise who failed to pay their players the October salaries.
Earlier this week on Tuesday a deadline from the South African Rugby Players’ Association passed and the players have been told that they now have the right to legally terminate their contracts.
Whitehead has now confirmed that the time has come for him to call it a day with Eastern Province Rugby Union.
“These problems have been going on for a while, and it’s been really tough for everyone affected,” he told SARugbymag.
“You just get to the point when enough is enough and you’ve got to make a difficult decision.”
Whitehead added that he was leaving without knowing where he will be playing next season.
“I don’t have anything else secured at the moment, obviously playing in Super Rugby would have been first prize,” said Whitehead.
“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.”
Reports have also surfaced that other players such as props Lizo Gqoboka and Tom Botha, wings Luther Obi and Sylvian Mahuza as well as eighthman Tim Agabaand have also decided to leave.
Players who have chosen to stay have been told that since they have not been paid their are under no obligation to report to work next week when the Kings had planned to begin preparations for the new Super Rugby season.
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