Worcester Warriors players including Scotland caps free to leave club

The company which pays players for the financially stricken club has been wound up at the High Court in London.

Worcester Warriors players van der Merwe and Sutherland to leave club after winding up order SNS Group

Worcester Warriors players including Scotland internationals Rory Sutherland and Duhan van der Merwe are to have their contracts at the club torn up as part of winding up action at the High Court in London.

The duo and fellow Scots Murray McCallum and Tom Dodd have been told they are free to find new clubs after the latest round of legal action against the financially stricken side.

The Gallagher Premiership club has been suspended from all competitions while HMRC pursue an unpaid tax bill of around £6m.

WRFC Players Ltd, the company which pays players and staff, has been instructed to be wound up by Judge Nicholas Briggs while similar action against WRFC Trading Limited, which remains in administration, has been suspended.

The squad, who have not been paid for September, would have been under freedom of contract on October 14, but that has now been brought forward by nine days.

Sutherland and Van Der Merwe, who have both represented the British and Irish Lions, have been linked with returns to former club Edinburgh in recent weeks.

McCallum meanwhile joked that he “hated a quiet life” in a message posted on social media shortly after the decision.

Administrators say they are in talks with two consortiums over a potential buyer for WRFC Trading Ltd – which could lead to the side being restored to the Premiership if a deal is secured by the middle of October.

However, that seems unlikely and professional body the Rugby Players’ Association (RPA) called for “lessons to be learnt” from the situation.

“The RPA is extremely saddened to hear of the liquidation of WRFC Players Limited,” a statement read.

“We stand with all Worcester employees. Our immediate thoughts are with all the players and staff who have lost their jobs today due to this terrible situation.

“We will continue to support our members in all ways that we can throughout this hugely challenging and difficult time, as we have done since it became clear that the club was in financial trouble.

“It is clear that lessons must be learnt from this situation and that players must be fully involved and consulted in any discussions regarding their futures and the future direction of the professional game.”

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