Malcolm Marx and talented Lions youngster Tyrone Green were amongst the names of the South African based player departures caused by the COVID-19 while Pieter-Steph du Toit could become another one.
South African based players were given a 21-day window to exercise the right to cancel their current contracts with their respective unions and secure a deal overseas as a way for South African rugby to cut costs as a result of the financial impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The deadline to trigger the release was last Thursday at midnight.
The Lions seem to be have been hit the worst with World Cup winning hooker Malcolm Marx leading the exits which also included Tyrone Green, Shaun Reynolds, Ruan Vermaak and attack coach Neil de Bruin.
The Golden Lons Rugby Union have confirmed a number of departures as a result of the current situation relating to the COVID-19 pandemic and strength of the rand including World Cup winner Malcolm Marx. Who is the biggest loss here? #ForeverRugby #ForeverSports #SuperRugby pic.twitter.com/ipfrXS9LgC
— Forever Sports (@ForeverSportsOn) May 15, 2020
Despite an apparent R9.3m offer, Makazole Mapimpi has elected to stay at the Sharks who also managed to keep hold of Luckanyo Am. Tyler Paul is rumoured to have opted out, but he remains the only player that will be leaving the Durban based franchise.
The Bulls confirmed that Jonny Kotze has departed, but this will not occupy too much thought in the mind of Jake White who continues to lure players back to the franchise.
On Friday, Arno Botha became the latest player to join the union after Marcell van der Merwe and Gio Aplon were confirmed in the previous weeks. Marcel Coetzee and Sintu Manjezzi are too more names being heavily linked with the Bulls as well.
Meanwhile, the Stormers are sweating over the situation of current World Rugby Player of the Year du Toit who has yet to confirm his situation.
The initial feeling was that du Toit was going to stay with the union as confirmed by manager John Dobson. However, it has been confirmed that he did terminate his Stormers contract with the view of resigning in order to get around the clause that prevented unions from renegotiating deals.
There is therefore still some paperwork to do to secure his playing future, although any complications would still allow him to take up a rumoured record-breaking contract at Montpellier which could see him earn over R70m in the next three years.
Cobus Wise and Jean Luc du Plessis have been confirmed as leaving the union along with Dillyn Leyds who had already committed to an overseas move before the pandemic.
It is, therefore, a tentative wait for Stormers fans to see if the monster loose forward will be running out at Newlands when the season resumes.