The Vodacom Bulls have confirmed the departure of seven players at the end of the Super Rugby season.
Pierre Spies, Jacques du Plessis, Flip van der Merwe, Jacques-Louis Potgieter and Francois Hougaard will further their careers abroad, while Victor Matfield and Akona Ndungane will retire.
Hougaard leaves for Japan, where he will play for the Canon Eagles and is yet to make a decision on whether to return to Loftus at a later stage. Spies is also heading to a Japanese club, but will join Du Plessis at Montpellier in France later.
Van der Merwe moves to Clermont but together with Du Plessis could still feature in this year's Currie Cup as their contracts with the union run until the end of October. Potgieter is set to join Lyon, who were relegated to the French Pro D2 league earlier this year.
Matfield will retire after the World Cup and Ndungane hangs up his boots this weekend as his contract was only extended for this year's Super Rugby competition.
The Bulls have also opted not to renew Jürgen Visser's contract, but it's unclear where the fullback will play for the rest of the season.
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