Head coach Ollie Smith has slammed back row Matt Symons after learning of his departure via his new club in New Zealand.

Smith bid Kevin Corrigan, Ignacio Elosu and Shawn Renwick farewell last week, following the departure of centre Geoff Griffiths to National One rivals Blackheath.

Symons had been incognito since the end of Esher’s doomed Championship campaign until the Molesey Road club heard from Canterbury-based club High School Old Boys, where he is now plying his trade.

And while Smith admitted Esher had not nailed him down to a deal for the coming campaign, he had hoped for better.

“Matt has been in and around the club long enough to know the level of professionalism we work to and so his attitude to the whole situation left a bit of a sour taste in the mouth,” he said.

“While we never opened any sort of dialogue with Matt, we would have hoped that he would have at least come to us and told us his plans.

“Despite trying to make constant contact with him, we had no response. We were then contacted by a club in New Zealand asking for Matt to be released from his registration here so that he could play over there.

“We’re perplexed about the way that the scenario played out and it’s not how we would have liked to conduct things.

“Matt will have to learn how he handles himself off the pitch. Hopefully he’ll do that in a new environment.”

Smith confirmed two new signings last week, with two more expected, having secured the services of young props Cameron Zeiss, 21, and Stewart Maguire, 22.

Zeiss enjoyed a loan spell at Esher last season and arrives from Leeds, while Maguire   – an Ireland U20 international – moves from Connacht  having started his career at Leinster.

For a full interview with Esher head coach Ollie Smith, see next week's Elmbridge Guardian and Surrey Comet.