Bulls lock Paul Willemse is heading to France, after being overlooked for Springbok selection.
The Blue Bulls Company (Pty) Ltd confirmed on Monday that Willemse will head abroad at the end of the year.
The 22-year-old player will join French club Grenoble after the Currie Cup competition on a two-year deal.
According to the BBC High Performance Manager, Xander Janse van Rensburg, it is becoming increasingly difficult to hold on to players and to compete with overseas clubs.
He added that with Willemse being overlooked for Bok selection the big cash offer was too good to ignore.
“Paul feels that he is not currently in the mix for Springbok selection and has a number of locks ahead of him in the line-up, so wants to add a different element to his game by playing in the French Top 14,” Janse van Rensburg said.
“Game time in France will see him improve as a player and we can reap the benefits of that upon his return.
“We tried our utmost best to retain the services of Paul,” Janse van Rensburg added.
“It is however very concerning that we are losing players at a younger and younger age to the overseas market.
“In Paul’s case, we are talking about a massive offer to the player and one that is very hard to say no to.
“We certainly cannot blame Paul for accepting such a lucrative offer, but even if we wanted to, we could not match it as this is one of the biggest offers I have seen for a player of his age.”
Willemse plans to return to South Africa in two years’ time to make a bid for the Springboks jersey and could well be back in Bulls colours then.