Bulls starlet heads to Munster
In a shock move, which is sure to reverberate in the corridors at Loftus Versfeld, it has been revealed that star loose forward CJ Stander will further his career abroad.
The Blue Bulls Company announced on Wednesday that Stander, one of the standout players in this year's Super Rugby competition and a former South African Under-20 captain, has decided against taking the option to extend his contract with the Blue Bulls Company.
The player will instead move to Munster, after agreeing terms with the Irish province. He has signed a two-year contract - subject to being granted a work permit and passing the requisite fitness test.
Stander will remain part of the Bulls team for the remained of their Super Rugby campaign and will also be available to play for the Blue Bulls in the Currie Cup competition.
His contract with the BBC runs out on October 31, whereafter he will move to Ireland.
The Chief Executive Officer of the Blue Bulls Company, Barend van Graan, said that they were unable to match the current offer on the table from the Irish outfit.
"We identified CJ [Stander] at schoolboy level already and he was part of our future planning at the Bulls," Van Graan said.
"However we couldn't match the Munster offer - such is the reality of professional sport."
Bulls coach Frans Ludeke wished Stander well in his decision.
"Quality players like CJ, who have also shown tremendous leadership abilities, don't come around very often and so it was not a surprise to hear about his overseas offer," Ludeke said.
"We would have loved to have had him with us well into the future, but it makes financial sense for CJ to accept the Munster offer.
"I have no doubt that CJ will continue to give everything he has throughout the remainder of our Super Rugby campaign as well as our Currie Cup season."
Stander has captained the Blue Bulls at Under-19 and Under-21 level, as well as South Africa at Under-20 level.
He made his Super Rugby debut in 2012 and has played in all 13 Super Rugby matches for the Bulls this year.