Lukhanyo Am, the winner of the World Cup in Springbok, has extended his contract with the Sharks for another three years, until 2025.
However, Am will be taking a short sabbatical on the part of Durban and starting next week to play for the Kobe Steelers in Japan for the next two months.
The two-month period will see Am back in time for the United Rugby Championship play-offs, should the Sharks advance to qualifiers.
This short-term release was granted to Am based on his current commitment to the team, both past and future.
In Am’s absence, World Cup winner Siya Kolisi will take over as captain and he will be supported and assisted by Thomas du Toit.
The center and team captain has been playing for the Durban-based side since 2016.
The Sharks said in a statement on Thursday that signing a contract for an additional three years is proof of the player’s “belief in the franchise’s plan for the future and his commitment to winning trophies with the team.”
“Building a world-class team that fights for success and performs with distinction is about identifying talent, recruiting where needed and most importantly retaining your top players,” explains Eduard Coetzee, CEO of The Sharks.
“We are delighted that Lukhanyo has given his full support to what we are trying to achieve at the Sharks and he has committed his substantial capabilities and outstanding players to the Sharks over the next three years.
“His contribution to the Sharks has been phenomenal and we look forward to the years ahead with him as an integral member of the team.”