Recently released Scarlets second row David Bulbring is to embark on a new challenge in Japan.
The South African forward will be linking up with the Kubota Spears in the city of Funabashi.
Bulbring spent three seasons with the Scarlets, making 79 appearances and sharing in the PRO12 title triumph of 2017.
Following his exit last month , there was speculation he might be a target for one of the other regions, given he was Welsh-qualified on residency.
But no such move transpired and now the 6ft 6ins lock will be looking to be big in Japan.
The Spears, who play in the country’s Top League, have a history of employing South African players, with Springboks star Duane Vermeulen having been on their books recently, as has international squad flanker Lappies Labuschagné.
Bulbring joined the Scarlets in 2016, having made his name in his homeland during spells with the Golden Lions, the Southern Kings, the Blue Bulls and twice with the Eastern Province Kings.
He had previously been part of the South African U20s team that played at the 2009 Junior World Championship.
An athletic, ball-carrying lock with good handling skills and a forceful defender, the man from Port Elizabeth proved himself a popular figure at the Scarlets.
He played his part in their march to the 2016-17 PRO12 title, coming on as a sub in the victories over Leinster and Munster in the semi-final and final.
And he was a regular starter the following season as they reached the semi-final of the Champions Cup and the final of the PRO14.
When I contacted the 29-year-old out in South Africa to check on his future plans, he made a point of saying how he had really enjoyed his time at the Scarlets.
He was one of four players to leave the region at the end of the season just gone.
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Fellow second row Tom Price is off to Exeter, back rower Will Boyde has linked up with Cardiff Blues, while scrum-half Declan Smith is playing out in New Zealand.
And it’s just been announced that Scottish international Sam Hidalgo-Clyne is also moving on.
The 12-times capped scrum-half, who arrived from Edinburgh last year, is leaving the region by mutual consent.
There is no firm news yet over his future plans, although he has been linked with a possible move to France.
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