The Stormers, the 2011 winners of the South African Super Rugby conference, were rocked on Monday by the news that Director of Coaching Rassie Erasmus has walked out on them.
This comes on the day that the Stormers - one of the pre-season favourites to win the Super Rugby tournament this year - returned to pre-season training for fitness tests at their High Performance Centre in Bellville, Cape Town.
According to a report in the local newspaper, Die Burger, Erasmus had already informed his employers, the Western Province Rugby Union, that he has quit.
"Rassie is looking at other options," Erasmus's lawyer, Frikkie Erasmus, told Die Burger.
"There are other choices, especially overseas."
Erasmus, who late last year emphatically denied that he will take up a coaching position with the Springboks, has repeatedly been linked to a position as Director of Coaching at the South African Rugby Union.
According to the newspaper clubs in England and France are after Erasmus's services.
He started his tenure at the WPRU in late 2007 and coached the Stormers to fifth position in the 2008 Super 14, just missing out on a semifinal spot.
However, he stepped out of the media spotlight to take up his current role as Director of Coaching, with former Bok assistant coach Allister Coetzee taking over the reigns as Stormers and WP head coach.
* Meanwhile the Stormers returned to training at the HPC and underwent fitness tests.
"The bulk of the players tested exceptionally well against the fitness and conditioning targets set for own training over the festive season, with a number exceeding the targets set." said fitness and conditioning coach Stephan Du Toit.
"Overall we were very pleased with the progress made by the group. Competition for places is tough and the boys are pushing each other hard. You can see that despite the time off the players trained hard."
The players now embark on a pre-season rugby specific and team building exercise in Hermanus.
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