RORY Duncan is reportedly no longer in the running to be Southern Kings’ head coach.

Rapport – the Afrikaans-speaking newspaper – revealed that the Worcester Warriors head coach had withdrawn from the process.

Durban-born Duncan was among four candidates to be interviewed for the job two weeks ago after being given permission by Warriors to speak to the Pro14 club.

It is not known why the 42-year-old has pulled out, but Samoa coach Steve Jackson, 53, is now understood to be the favourite to succeed Deon Davids who departed Kings last month.


According to Rapport, Jackson is the only name remaining on Kings’ initial shortlist with Cheetahs’ forwards coach Corniel van Zyl, 40, out of contention and ex-South Africa boss Peter de Villiers, 62, believed to not be the desired candidate.

Last week Duncan and Jackson appeared to emerge as the top two candidates after van Zyl was disqualified from the race due to not having the required level-three coaching qualification.

The City Press in South Africa also reported that de Villiers did not have the certificate either – which is believed to have counted against him despite his wealth of experience.

It is not known whether Jackson, who is set to take charge of Samoa in this autumn’s Rugby World Cup, will now be appointed by Kings or the South African club will cast their net further in a bid to find Davids’ successor.

Duncan joined Worcester from Cheetahs last summer and is still contracted by the Gallagher Premiership outfit with his current deal due to expire at the end of next season.

But Warriors informed the Worcester News earlier this month that Duncan had been allowed to talk to other clubs.

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.”

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

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