Thinus Delport’s four-year Worcester career looks set to draw to a close at the end of the season as the former Springbok considers becoming the third Warrior to agree a lucrative move to Japan.
At the age of 33 Delport, who has played in all but two matches this term, seems convinced his future lies away from Sixways and is weighing up offers in his native South Africa and also one from the Far East.
It is thought he has the opportunity to join Worcester team-mates Shane Drahm and Drew Hickey at Kubota Spears if he decides to see through one more contract before returning home to set up a commercial helicopter flying business.
Although the former Gloucester threequarter has not given Mike Ruddock his final answer, the director of rugby is expecting Delport will play his last game for the club at the end of the current campaign - either at home to Newcastle, or preferably a European Challenge Cup final on May 24.
"Thinus and I have had a good chat and there is a very good chance he will be playing some rugby closer to home or maybe in Japan," Ruddock said. "They play only 14 matches which would suit him as he gets a little bit older. It is not 100 per cent yet but it is looking that way.
"If it does come about I will be a bit sad because he is a smashing guy and a great professional. We’ll wish him the best of luck though. We are confident we have cover in that position with a like for like replacement with Chris Latham coming over."
Indeed Latham’s arrival, combined with the emergence of Chris Pennell, will have had a bearing on the decision by Delport who has made no secret of the fact he would not want to spend next season on the replacements’ bench.
The impact of another hard pre-season and winter has also influenced the 18-cap wing-cum-full back who will be 34 by the end of 2008-09.
Before he goes, however, he is line to make his 100th Premiership appearance in Worcester next home game against Leicester Tigers with this Friday’s at Sale being his 99th.
Drahm’s position is rather more clear. The fly half is already committed to joining Kubota and looked to have played his last match for the club when he went on loan to Cornish All Blacks.
But the Australian-born playmaker was recalled for last week’s narrow loss to London Irish and will remain with Worcester rather than return to join Tim Collier and Gavin Quinnell at Polson Bridge.
"I will not be putting him out on loan again," Ruddock confirmed. "We are at the business end of the season and in a situation where Shane’s goal-kicking prowess will be a useful commodity.
"I called him back because every game is a cup final for us now, we are going to need someone of his accuracy in the squad."
Collier’s immediate future is uncertain having been sent off in Launceston’s 71-3 hammering by Nottingham at the weekend.
The lock was dismissed for a high tackle early in the second half and faces a suspension.