LEEDS CARNEGIE have wielded the axe following relegation to the Championship – with seven players to leave the club.
Dual code winger Henry Fa’afili, full-back Leigh Hinton and scrum-half Warren Fury are all heading for the exit door, while ex-Bath back row Daniel Browne and boom Argentine prop Juan Gomez have been released from the reminder of their contracts.
Spanish prop Jesus Moreno-Rodriguez and young scrum-half Alex Black will also leave after being told their contracts won’t be renewed.
The departures follow on from the high-profile exits of England World Cup winner Steve Thompson and skipper Marco Wentzel to Wasps and the departures of Kearnan Myall, Scott Mathie and Luther Burrell to Sale.
Star flanker Hendre Fourie is also set for pastures new, having been given permission to speak to other clubs after rejecting a new three-year deal – with the likes of London Irish, Gloucester and Sale in the hunt for him.
Others who have already left are Welsh fly-half Ceiron Thomas, who has joined Championship play-off finalists Cornish Pirates and powerhouse forward Alfie To’oala, who has joined up with Seru Rabeni at relegated French Top 14 outfit La Rochelle. Highly-rated lock James Craig has also switched to Northampton Saints.
Chief executive Gary Hetherington said: “Over the past few seasons we have invested heavily in our squad to compete in the Aviva Premiership and obviously following relegation, there will be a rationalising process in terms of numbers.
“Towards the end of the season, we thought it was correct and proper to focus all our attentions on supporting the coaching staff and squad in their goal of retaining our place in the Aviva Premiership.
“Therefore, we did not enter into any contract negotiations until the end of the season. Obviously, this is a difficult time for those affected and, while there has been some frustration from our own supporters at the lack of announcements, we must do things in the correct manner for the sake of all concerned.
“On behalf of everyone at Leeds Carnegie, we would like to thank all those players who are leaving the club in the summer and we wish them well for the future. In particular, Leigh Hinton and Kearnan Myall, who have both played over 100 games for the club.”
Meanwhile, Carnegie have confirmed that a decision over their new head coach isn’t expected for at least 10 days.
Media reports suggested that Carnegie were interviewing possible candidates yesterday, which the club have denied.