Bulls exodus reaches fever pitch
Springboks and Bulls hooker Chiliboy Ralepelle will head to France at the end of the Super Rugby season.
The Blue Bulls Company (Pty) Ltd revealed on Thursday that Ralepelle did not accept an offer to extend his contract past October 31.
The hooker, currently with Bok team in Durban for the Test against Italy on Saturday, will take up an offer with the French club Toulouse.
The BBC and Ralepelle reached consensus on a possible extension in early May, on the proviso of the player also being offered a Springbok contract for 2014/15.
A new offer, this time by Toulouse, prompted Ralepelle to decline the contract extension negotiated with the BBC.
He joins the growing exodus - which include Juandre Kruger (Racing Metro), Jacques Potgieter (Japan and then an unspecified club in England), Morné Steyn (Stade Francais) and Wynand Olivier (Montpellier) and Zane Kirchner (Leinster).
The High Performance Manager at the BBC, Xander Janse van Rensburg said they did their best to keep Ralepelle at Loftus Versfeld, where he has played all of his Vodacom Cup, Currie Cup and Super Rugby matches and also became a Springbok.
"We tried our best, but Chiliboy decided it was time to move on. We respect his decision," Janse van Rensburg said.
Ralepelle indicated that it was a lifestyle and career move.
"I always wanted to play abroad and this opportunity will provide that," Ralepelle said.
"I also feel that I will develop further as a rugby player in France, where different set skills will be required. I can only improve by playing over there."
He will leave the union with mixed emotions, Ralepelle said.
"The Bulls were my life for so long, so of course I will miss it, but have peace of mind about my decision to move abroad. There are no ill-feelings on either side, it was just time for me to move on."
* Janse van Rensburg also confirmed that negotiations with scrumhalf Jano Vermaak has progressed well and is at an advanced stage.
"We are aware of the overseas offer made to Jano and this forms part of our negotiations," he said.