HEAD coach Rory Duncan is expected to see out the final year of his contract at Worcester Warriors despite having his head turned by a possible return to South Africa.

Director of rugby Alan Solomons insisted Duncan was “contracted until the end of the season” and had been “working his socks off” at Warriors in preparation for the upcoming campaign.

Duncan’s Sixways future was thrown into uncertainty when it emerged that he was one of four candidates interviewed for the head coach vacancy at Southern Kings.

Warriors then released a statement saying they “do not envisage” Duncan, who joined from Cheetahs last year, being part of their long-term plan.

Although Duncan has since pulled out of the running for the Kings job, Warriors have yet to make a further comment on the 42-year-old’s situation.

But the South African was pictured in Warriors’ team photo for the new season yesterday and Solomons stressed there was a “really nice togetherness about the club”.

“Rory is here and has been here right through pre-season,” Solomons said.

“He is contracted until the end of the season so it’s business as usual.

“He is working his socks off, like everybody else is, to ensure that we have the best season we can.”

But Solomons was reluctant to answer any more questions on the matter.

“I can’t take it further than what I’ve said,” said Solomons who recently penned a new deal that expires in the summer of 2022.

“Rory is contracted. He is here and is working really hard.

“We are all determined, Rory included, to do as well as we can this season.”

There were a number of changes on and off the field last summer with Duncan and attack coach Neil Doak replacing Carl Hogg and Sam Vesty respectively.

Solomons’ coaching team also comprises of defence coach Omar Mouneimne and forwards coach Mefin Davies.

“The whole club is working like crazy for us to have a good season,” Solomons added.

“The club is not just about the team or the rugby department, it is about the owners, Colin (Goldring) and Jason (Whittingham) down to everybody else.

“There is a really nice togetherness about the club. Colin and Jason have done a great job in bringing in everyone. As has Peter Kelly who is the operations director.”

Warriors achieved a club-record equalling nine top-flight wins and reached the knockout stages of the Premiership Cup and European Challenge Cup in Duncan’s first season at Sixways.

Fly-half Jono Lance said he had been impressed by Duncan and the squad had been unaffected by speculation over his future.

“There has been stuff going on in the media but for us Rory has been amazing with everything he works on in training,” Lance said.

“We have been cracking on. The first four to six weeks of pre-season was about building that fitness and strength.

“But now the rugby side of it is getting more intense.

“All the coaches have been a massive part for us over the past week-and-a-half and that’s only going to continue to grow.

“It’s been business as usual for all of the players.”

Asked whether he would be encouraging Duncan to stay at Warriors beyond next season, Lance said: “I enjoy Rory. I think he is a good, young coach.

“But for us there is a lot more to worry about than all of that sort of stuff as we have got to concentrate on getting better as a team and attack each day.”