Fourie set for Leeds exit
London Irish and Sale keen on signing flanker
By Tony Curtis - Twitter: @SkySportsTC. Last Updated: 20/05/11 1:40pm
Fourie: A wanted man
England flanker Hendre Fourie is set to leave Leeds after he rejected a new three-year deal at the club.
Fourie still has a year left to run on his current deal, but he has now been allowed to speak to other clubs following Carnegie's relegation from the Premiership.
"It is only fair to offer him the chance to speak to other clubs given his outstanding contribution to the club over the years."
Gary Hetherington Quotes of the week
The 31-year-old has already attracted interest from London Irish - prompting a complaint from Leeds - and Sale.
However any club wanting to sign the South Africa-born flanker will need to pay a fee to Leeds.
Leeds chief executive Gary Hetherington said: "Hendre has always been a tremendous servant to the club and I have no doubt that he would honour his contract with the club if he was to remain at Headingley Carnegie.
"However, it is only fair to offer him the chance to speak to other clubs given his outstanding contribution to the club over the years.
"We have made no secret of the fact that we would like him to remain at the club to help us return to the Aviva Premiership and have offered him a new long term contract.
"However, we will now wait to see the outcome of Hendre's discussions before we begin negotiations on a transfer fee if necessary."
Fourie has been a massive hit at Headingley since joining from Rotherham - going on to force his way into the England set-up.
As a result his departure would not come as a surprise, although it will be disappointing for Leeds who had offered him a long-term deal to stay.
Leeds have already seen a number of high-profile players leave in the wake of their relegation - but Fourie had been key to their plans to bounce straight back up.
London Irish will be favourites to sign Fourie, with the club keen to replace the France-bound Steffon Armitage. However, Sale are also keen and have been monitoring the situation closely.