Lions flank Albertus ‘Kwagga’ Smith has agreed to join the Japanese club Yamaha Júbilo.
The 25-year-old has signed a short-term contract with the side and will not be available for the Golden Lions’ Currie Cup campaign.
Smith’s eventual return will be a sigh of relief for the Lions, who face a mass exodus of senior players at the end of the season.
Confirmed departures include centre Rohan Janse van Rensburg (to Sale Sharks) prop Ruan Dreyer (Gloucester), lock Franco Mostert (Gloucester – although the Lions have disputed this) and flank Jaco Kriel (Gloucester).
While, speculation that fullback Andries Coetzee (Sale Sharks, Gloucester & Toulon) and prop Jacques van Rooyen (Bath) have been linked to European clubs.
Commenting on his move to Japan, Smith said: “I am honoured to be a member of the Yamaha family as the next step of my own rugby career.
“I have visited Japan, but I have the impression that it is a very beautiful country, and each other I am very impressed with the culture.
“I am convinced that the transfer to a team playing high quality like Yamaha will lead to further growth and leap as a player.
“Also my wife is looking forward to living in Japan so I will try my best to make a big contribution to the team.
“I am grateful to all the stakeholders of Yamaha who gave valuable opportunities like this time and I am looking forward to seeing you all.
“I will do my best to win the top league.”
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