Stormers and Springboks flanker Pieter-Steph du Toit has requested to leave the Cape Town-based side in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
With a range of cost-cutting measures announced this week, including big wage cuts, South Africa’s professional players were given a 21-day window in which to request contract termination.
The Stormers confirmed on Saturday that Du Toit was one of three players who had submitted termination requests by the May 14 deadline.
Despite his request, though, the Stormers said they would work to keep players who had requested termination.
“The existing contracts between the players and the company are considered as binding and WP Rugby has reserved the right to hold players to these contracts or exercise other rights that may be held,” the statement read.
“These options will be discussed with the players that have purportedly cancelled their contracts and more information about the course of action will be provided in future.”
Du Toit joins fellow Springboks star Malcolm Marx among the big names to take up the option to leave South Africa.
🗣️ "There is always a big sense of loss and sadness when we lose family members." #SuperRugby
— Planet Rugby (@PlanetRugby) May 15, 2020
The 27-year-old back-row is reportedly set to head to France to continue his career.
Du Toit established himself as one of the game’s premier players in a stellar 2019, which was capped off by his World Rugby Player of the Year award.
Cobus Wiese and Jean-Luc du Plessis are the other two players to have requested contract terminations before the deadline, WP Rugby confirmed in the statement.
News of their looming departures comes after Dillyn Leyds and Wlico Louw flagged their plans to leave the club at the end of the 2020 season.
In their statement, Western Province Rugby said it was confident in the team’s ability to continue to develop.
“The contracting strategy and squad system has enabled WP Rugby to make provision for these departures and will provide the opportunity for younger players to develop their skills,” the statement read.
“Louw and Leyds have been loyal and valuable players for WP Rugby and we thank them for the pleasure that they have provided to the Faithful.”