Jaque Fourie
South African rugby union player Jaque Fourie will remain in Japan for the next two years after signing a contract with Kobe Steel.

South African rugby union player Jaque Fourie, who is currently playing for the Panasonic Wild Knights in Japan's Top League, will not return to South Africa in 2012/13 to play domestic or Super rugby.

The three time Rugby World Cup and 69-cap Springbok centre has decided not to renew his contract in South Africa, having secured what is said to be one of the most lucrative deals in rugby union.

Fourie's agent and Western Province (WP) Rugby have confirmed that he has signed a deal to remain in Japan. He will stay there for the next two years to play for Kobe Steel.

While the value of Fourie's contract is yet to be confirmed, it is believed to be worth ZAR 22 million (approx. £1.74m) for the two year stint.

Managing Director of Western Province Rugby, Rob Wagner, said the money being offered to Fourie was so large that they could not match it.

"Fourie's two year contract with WP Rugby ended after the 2011 Currie Cup and despite efforts to secure his services, Jaque has opted not to return. The deal is simply too big for us as a South African franchise," said Wagner.

"While we are obviously disappointed, Jaque made a huge impact during his stay in the Cape and we wish him well with his career in Japan."

Fourie told Union Sports Magazine that he was "excited to be remaining in Japan" for a further two years with Kobe Steel.

"Kobe have been incredibly professional, patient and understanding in all of their dealings with me, particularly in relation to my short term stint with Panasonic, so I thank them for that and look forward to enjoying success with the Steelers," he said.