The Bulls have confirmed that Josh Strauss has left the franchise, but insist his departure from Loftus Versfeld was by “mutual consent”.

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Scotland back-row Josh Strauss had agreed to join the Bulls and and leave Sale Sharks with a year left on his contract at the club.

The 32-year-old  returned to the country of his birth after spending two years with the Sharks in the English Premiership.

Several sides in France had shown an interest in the strong-carrying back-row, and although Strauss has long been keen to play in the Top 14, no deal could be reached.

The former Lions player made 21 appearances in the Premiership and European Challenge Cup last term, starting only five of the 15 league matches in which he was involved.

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He showcased much of his barnstorming best rugby in Glasgow colours, and was a particular favourite of the Warriors supporters, some of whom feel his colossal carrying has never quite been replaced.

After joining from the Lions in 2012, Strauss helped Glasgow win their first trophy in the form of the 2015 Pro12 title and qualified to represent Scotland on residency grounds the same year.

The Scottish international joined the Vodacom Bulls in 2019 and featured strongly in the 2020 Vodacom Super Rugby competition before it was halted due to Covid-19.

Contrary to media reports, there has been an open line of communication between BBCo Director of Rugby Jake White, and Strauss’ management agency over the last few months.

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White thanked Strauss for his commitment and wished him well, “Josh is a great guy and I truly respect his decision to put his family first. It’s a tough situation to be in, working and living far away from your kids and not seeing them as often as you like. We fully understand his situation and would like to sincerely thank him for his commitment and efforts while at the Bulls, and wish him everything of the best with his path ahead.”

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