Jaque Fourie has agreed a short-term deal with Japanese club the Panasonic Wild Knights.
There have been reports linking the Springbok and Stormers centre to a move to Japan over the last fortnight. After discussions between the player and the WP union, it has been decided that Fourie will be released to play for the Wild Knights for the duration of their domestic season.
The 28-year-old will return in time for the Stormers’ Super Rugby campaign, that kicks off on 24 February. However, with the Japanese domestic season only ending on 5 February, it means Fourie will head straight into Super Rugby preparations with no break after a busy 2011, which included an extended Super Rugby season, Tri-Nations and World Cup tournaments.
Fourie is the second Stormers player to be sent out on loan to a Japanese club. Flyhalf Peter Grant is currently playing in his second campaign for the Kobe Kobelco Steelers, and will also rush back into Super Rugby next year. Springbok and Bulls scrumhalf Fourie du Preez and lock Danie Rossouw have both signed two-year deals with Japanese club Suntory Sungoliath.
This site has it on good authority that there is an opportunity for Fourie to make a permanent transfer to Japan after Super Rugby. Fourie will have the opportunity to experience Japan and their domestic rugby from October to February, and could be open to a longer deal.
By Gareth Duncan