A Rugby World Cup year is always a daunting one for South African Super Rugby sides, with the player exodus that usually follows the global tournament a tough one to deal with.

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Plenty of players have already announced their departures for Europe or Japan, with the Sharks trio of Coenie Oosthuizen, Akker van der Merwe and Robert du Preez all taking up permanent deals with Sale Sharks in the Gallagher Premiership, whilst Eben Etzebeth and Stephan Lewies are among the others departing South Africa.

Bulls second row Lood de Jager will be joining the Sharks trio in the north-west of England at Sale and he is not the only star getting set to leave the Loftus Versfeld stadium and Pretoria, either.

Bulls CEO Alfons Meyer confirmed on Tuesday that Springbok fly-half Handre Pollard would also be calling time on his current stint with the Bulls.

“It’s one of those things. We tried everything to keep Handre here,” he told Netwerk24. “But we simply can’t compete with this exchange rate.”

Pollard has been linked heavily with a move to French side Montpellier, whose owner Mohed Altrad stated on Monday that a deal had been agreed in principle to sign the 25-year-old, but that the contract had not yet been signed.

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Meyer did offer some positive news for Bulls fans, however, with a replacement for Pollard already lined up in the form of veteran Morne Steyn. “Morne is hugely experienced and could be an excellent mentor for Manie [Libbok]. Rassie Erasmus has given us his blessing. He also believes that Morne will be a good buy.”

Libbok, 21, is a former South African under-20 stand-out who has been beginning to break his way in the Bulls senior squad over the last year and is capable of performing at both fly-half and full-back.

The return of the 34-year-old Steyn, who accrued over 120 appearances for the Bulls before departing for France in 2013, will give head coach Pote Human better depth at the position, as well as not requiring him to rush through Libbok before the youngster is ready.

WATCH: Jim Hamilton’s South African edition of Rugby Explorer

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