WARRIORS fly-half Andy Goode has spoken of his bemusement at Worcester’s decision to not retain the services of long-serving number eight Kai Horstmann.
The 30-year-old back-rower has played more than 170 times for the Sixways club, yet has been deemed surplus to requirements for next term.
However, Goode admits he was ‘gobsmacked’ by the decision to let Horstmann go and insists all of the Warriors players would have wanted the former England Saxons international to remain in their dressing room.
Ex-England outside-half Goode said: “I’m very disappointed some of the boys will be going. Kai has been a very good player for the club and he has been unlucky with injury this season — I am gobsmacked he will be leaving.
“It’s frustrating, but there are some good players coming in and that’s what we have to build on for next season.
“I know where Kai is going to and they have signed a very good player. But that is the decision the board and coaches have made — Kai is held in ultra high regard by all the players here.
“He has been a fantastic player for the club and has had something like three player-of-the-season awards, which speaks volumes about him as a player. But that’s rugby and people have to make tough decisions.
“I love playing with him, he is a great player and I feel he could have added a lot next year.
“I think every player in the changing room would have wanted Kai here next year.”
Warriors head coach Richard Hill plans to replace Horstmann with Aviva Premiership newcomer Semisi Taulava and the relatively-inexperienced Blair Cowan.
However, the Sixways chief is not concerned by this, insisting the reason behind Horstmann’s release was the need for a more powerful ball-carrier.
He explained: “I’m not worried about a lack of Premiership experience at number eight next season. We will have Blair and Matt Kvesic as well as Semisi, who don’t have a lot of experience.
“Kai is a lovely footballer but, at the end of the day, he hasn’t got that bulk to bash through and take two or three people to stop him.”
Hill added: “We need a big ball-carrier. Where we lack as a pack of forwards is two or three big, heavy men who carry ball, so we will have the heaviest number eight in the Premiership next season (Taulava) at 130-odd kilos and he will take two or three blokes to stop him.
“We’ll have Dean Schofield at lock too, who is another ball-carrier. Against good defences, you need big, powerful people to bust through.”