The Sharks have released eighthman Ryan Kankowski on a six month deal to Top League Rugby Union team, Toyota Verblitz club in Aichi, Japan.
The twenty-six-year-old has been allowed the release on a sabbatical basis not unlike Dan Carter's time with Perpignan.
Kankowski will join the Japanese club from 6 August 2012 until 16 February 2013, allowing him to be back in Durban, to rejoin The Sharks for their 2013 Super Rugby campaign.
The Springbok joined the Sharks in 2006, making his debut in the black and white jersey during the Currie Cup season against the Lions.
Before leaving for Japan, Kankowski will feature in the Springboks final Test against England at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium on Saturday, coming off the bench and providing cover as a loose forward.
The Sharks CEO, Brian van Zyl added, "We wish him the best of luck in Japan and look forward to welcoming him back to Durban upon completing his playing commitments in Japan, when he will continue to represent The Sharks with distinction."
Meanwhile there have been rumours that Bulls centre Wynand Olivier will also take a sabbatical in Japan but this has not yet been confirmed.