Japanese sabbatical for Kanko

Thu, 21 Jun 2012 09:34
Ryan-kankowski-_-fan-630 Wynand-olivier-_-spies-630
Kankowski will be back in February

Springbok replacement Ryan Kankowski will go on a six-month sabbatical to Japan in August.

This was confirmed by his franchise, the Sharks, on Thursday.

However, reports that Bulls and Bok centre Wynand Olivier would also soon be earning some Yen could not be confirmed.

"No comment," was the terse response from Barend van Graan, CEO of the Blue Bulls Company, when approached by this website over reports that the 28-year-old would also be heading to Japan.

Earlier reports had suggested that Olivier and Kankowski would both be heading overseas to continue their careers in Japan.

Olivier, who will play in his 37th Test when he lines up at inside centre for South Africa against England in Port Elizabeth on Saturday, made his Bok debut in 2006.

He has been a stalwart of the Bulls throughout their three successful Super Rugby campaigns - 2007, 2009 and 2010.

The 26-year-old Kankowski, who made his Bok debut in 2007, will play in his 20th Test if he comes off the bench in PE on Saturday.

"We wish him the best of luck in Japan and look forward to welcoming him back to Durban upon completing his playing commitments in Japan, when he will continue to represent the Sharks with distinction," Sharks CEO Brian van Zyl said.

Newspaper reports on Thursday suggested Olivier and Kankowski could both earn more than ZAR500,000 per month playing in Japan.

Both are expected to depart in August.

The Sharks confirmed that Kankowski would be returning in February next year to resume his Super Rugby career with the Durban-based franchise.

However, the Bulls declined to comment on the reports of Olivier's sabbatical.

By Jan de Koning