Bok No 9 Japan-bound

Fourie du Preez will play for an undisclosed Japanese club after the 2011 World Cup.

Du Preez announced on Wednesday he had signed a contract extension with the Bulls until the end of next year’s Super 15. Earlier this year, he signed on with the Springboks until after the World Cup in New Zealand.

‘These were the best rugby years of my life and I could never have played for another union,’ Du Preez said in a statement. ‘By revealing my plans for the future now, it will give the Bulls sufficient time to plan for the future and possible successors.

‘There are already some excellent players like Francois Hougaard knocking on the door, so it is time to move on. It remains a massive honor to be part of the structures started and maintained by world class coaches such as Heyneke Meyer and Frans Ludeke.

‘The leadership of Victor Matfield and the bond between the team members is also something I will always treasure. There is still time for me to add value and it is something I look forward to.’

Du Preez will only be 29 by the time he starts his Japanese stint for an unknown time-frame, but said he was entirely focused on the Bulls and Boks’ goals.

‘There is the chance to play in another World Cup, but also the knowledge that I will enjoy the experience,’ he said. ‘Last season was the most enjoyable I have had in the Bok jersey and think Peter de Villiers deserves a lot of credit for that.

‘I feel we have the experience and core group in the team to make a serious run at the Webb Ellis trophy again.’