IN-DEMAND head coach Rory Duncan looks set to leave Worcester Warriors after being given permission to speak to other clubs.

The Worcester News has been informed by Warriors that a “strategic plan for the future” has been put in place and they “do not envisage” Duncan being part of that.

Duncan joined Worcester from Cheetahs last summer and it is understood his current deal is not due to expire until the end of the 2019-20 campaign.

But speculation over his future has been growing with Southern Kings becoming the latest South African club to reportedly express interest in him.

Warriors’ co-owners Colin Goldring and Jason Whittingham have recently extended director of rugby Alan Solomons’ contract until the summer of 2022.

Goldring previously described Duncan as an “extremely talented”, “dedicated” and “hardworking individual”.

But the South African’s time at Sixways looks poised to come to an end – just two months before Worcester return to competitive action.

A spokesman from Warriors said: “The club has put in place a strategic plan for the future of Warriors.

“We do not envisage Rory Duncan being part of those plans and, therefore, we have given Rory permission to seek opportunities elsewhere.”

Worcester’s statement comes a day after Thando Manana, general manager of Eastern Province Rugby Union, revealed Duncan was among four candidates on the shortlist to be the next head coach of Southern Kings.

Manana said Duncan, ex-South Africa boss Pieter de Villiers, Samoa coach Steve Jackson and Cheetahs forwards coach Corniel van Zyl were vying for the top job at the Pro 14 outfit.

It is understood that the final four were whittled down from 50 applicants as Kings look to fill the void left by Deon Davids who departed last month.

Manana also wished de Villiers who coached the Springboks between 2008 and 2011 well ahead of his interview today.

Manana Tweeted: “Want to wish the last international coach to beat British & Irish Lions in a series, Pieter de Villiers, everything of the best for S. Kings head coach Interview on Monday.

“He's one of 4 candidates shortlisted for post.

“Other coaches: Steve Jackson, Corniel van Zyl, Rory Duncan.”

Rapport – the Afrikaans-speaking newspaper – also reported that Duncan was in the mix for the King role and suggested Sharks were looking at him as a possible successor to head coach Robert du Preez.

Duncan’s had previously been linked with a return to Cheetahs only for the rumour to be dismissed by Solomons who insisted there was “no substance in that whatsoever”.

Should Duncan depart, Solomons’ coaching staff would consist of backs coach Neil Doak, defence coach Omar Mouneimne and forwards coach Mefin Davies.

Warriors are in the process of searching for a new academy manager following the departure of Chim Gale to Harlequins last month.