I have not seen the details of how long the Japanese club want him for
The Bulls' Springbok loose forward Jacques Potgieter has requested to be given a 'sabbatical' to go and play in Japan.
Xander Janse van Rensburg, the High Performance Manager of the Blue Bulls Company, confirmed to this website that the 26-year-old player wants to head to Japan after the Super Rugby season.
"Jacques [Potgieter] is contracted to us till October 2015," Janse van Rensburg told this website.
"There has been a request from his side that he would like to go play in Japan on a 'joint' deal," the BBC High Performance Manager said, adding: "The request means that after Super Rugby he goes to Japan and then returns for Super Rugby [next year]."
Potgieter, capped three times for his country last year, wants to repeat that cycle until his contract with the Bulls expire. He had extended his contract with the Bulls earlier this year.
However, the sabbatical is conditional to approval from the Bulls' board of directors.
"The request is that he is allowed to have a sabbatical from the Currie Cup [competition]," Janse van Rensburg told this website, adding that the board of directors are scheduled to meet in mid-April.
"I have not seen the details of how long the Japanese club want him for [after Super Rugby], but he did request a release from playing for us after Super Rugby."
Potgieter is currently on tour with the Bulls in Australia, where they will take on the Brumbies in Canberra on Saturday.
However, he does not feature in the matchday 22 for Saturday's outing.
The product of Daniel Pienaar in Uitenhage, represented Eastern Province at the Craven Week in 2004 and then moved to the Sharks, whom he represented at various youth levels before playing in the Vodacom Cup competition for two seasons.
He moved back to Port Elizabeth and joined the Eastern Province Kings for the 2009 Currie Cup First Division season.
In August 2011 the Bulls announced that they had signed Potgieter and became a Springbok in June last year against England.
Potgieter's possible departure follows the news that Stormers lock Andries Bekker will join other high-profile Boks like Jaque Fourie and Fourie du Preez in Japan.
He will also become the latest in a growing list of senior Bulls players who are heading abroad - with players like Boks Morné Steyn and Juandre Kruger heading to France after this year's Super Rugby competition.
Injured Bulls and Bok centre Wynand Olivier will also head back to Japan for a second stint, after returning for this year's Super Rugby season.
By Jan de Koning