Zeena Isaacs from the Business Day reported that the pair have been given just two week’s wages and a flight back to New Zealand upon being notified of their termination.
The whole episode has left the New Zealand pair incensed given that they were apparently assured 4 weeks ago that their jobs were ‘safe’ by the Lions management following the fall-out from the John Mitchell suspension.
“I received an e-mail saying my contract had been terminated with immediate effect, despite conversations a few weeks ago with the decision-makers in which they said they wanted us (himself and Spencer) to stay,” said Taylor. “I am very disappointed about the manner in which this was handled.”
An incensed Spencer revealed that he had received a tip-off from Taylor on Tuesday night that his head could be on the chopping block and decided to go to the union yesterday to find out where he stood.
“I was basically sent an e-mail to that effect,” said Spencer. “And only a few weeks ago I was told not to worry about my job. They looked me in the eye and said there was nothing to worry about…. I don’t mind being fired, but the way was it was done left a bitter taste.”
Lions president, Kevin de Klerk, however insisted that correct procedures were followed given that there was a clause in their contract which allowed to Lions to terminate their contracts should the team finish last in Super Rugby.
“There was a clause in their contracts that gave us the right to terminate the contracts if the team finished last in Super Rugby, and following lengthy debates we opted to do so,” said De Klerk. “But I have to stress that it was not an easy decision. The board of directors spoke about the matter in detail, and after considering a number of facts and the whole John Mitchell saga, we decided to follow that route.”
De Klerk also defended the manner in which the union informed Taylor and Spencer that their services were no longer required: “We followed the correct procedures in every aspect of the process. It is never pleasant to deliver such news.”
The only remaining member on the coaching staff which started out the 2012 season is Johan Ackermann and it is believed his deputies would be sourced from within the Lions ranks for the Currie Cup season which kicks off next weekend.