Andries Bekker is the latest Springbok to invest his future in Japanese club rugby.
The Stormers and Western Province lock, who fitness permitting, will become the first Stormer to play 100 Super Rugby matches, confirmed a departure to Japan at the completion of this season’s Super Rugby.
He won’t be available for the Springboks, as is the case with Fourie du Preez, Jaque Fourie and Danie Rossouw.
Bekker, in an official WP statement, said: ‘I’m particularly excited about joining up with my fellow South Africans at Kobelco Steelers – players like Peter Grant and Jaque Fourie have had nothing but great things to say about the club
‘It was a tough decision for me to make. I’ve spent my entire professional rugby career in Cape Town, but, at this stage of my life, I felt it would be best to further my career abroad and to embark on a new adventure – both as a person and a rugby player.
‘That said, we’re just three games into the 2013 Super Rugby season… it’s still a long season ahead of us and I’d love nothing more than to end my DHL Stormers career on a high.’
Bekker, South Africa’s Super Rugby Player of the Year in 2010, has also made an additional 38 appearances for Western Province, since 2004 – scoring 12 tries for DHL WP and a further 12 for the DHL Stormers.
He has played 29 Tests for the Boks.