Johannesburg - Lions players Lourens Erasmus and Ruan Combrinck will both join Japan-based clubs during the 2017 Currie Cup season.
Both will join their respective clubs after the completion of their Super Rugby duties in 2017, the Johannesburg franchise announced on Friday.
They will return to South Africa on February 1, 2018 to join the Lions’ preparation for Super Rugby.
“I am looking forward to the opportunity of living and playing in Japan and experiencing a different culture and people. I really look forward to the challenge. I believe I can come back a better player to face the 2018 Super Rugby season with the Lions,” Erasmus said.
Combrinck, who boasts seven Test caps for the Springboks, could be called up for national duty during the Rugby Championship - which would delay his departure to Japan - as well as the end of year tour to Europe.
“We see this as an opportunity which is mutually beneficial to both Lions rugby and our players as we therefore manage to secure their services for a longer period of time,” said Rudolf Straeuli, CEO of Lions Rugby Company Pty (Ltd).