It was announced on Tuesday that the Springbok flyhalf Patrick Lambie has been granted an early release from his contract held jointly between SA Rugby and the Sharks. He is now free to relocate to the French club Racing 92.
The 26-year-old Lambie asked to be released from his joint Springbok and Sharks contract, with the parties mutually agreeing to his request.
He has made 56 Test appearances for the Springboks and has also played in two tour matches.
Springbok coach Allister Coetzee explained that: "Patrick felt that he wanted a different challenge in his career.
"He has been loyal to the Springboks and has done very well for his country. It is a big loss for us but we want to wish him well with the next chapter of his career. However, having played 56 Tests for the Springboks already, he is still eligible for future selection."
As cited by Rugby365, Sharks head coach Robert du Preez commented on Lambie’s departure saying: "Pat will always be regarded as an exceptional player who has served the Sharks and the Springboks with distinction. He is a strong leader and a fierce competitor that always sets a great example.
"It is sad to say goodbye to a great player that embodies our values and who was a wonderful ambassador for our brand. We respect his decision and thank him for his dedication and loyalty over the years. He will be missed."
"Playing for the team [Sharks] that I've supported all my life has been a dream come true and an absolute honour,” Lambie said.
"The decision to leave a place that will always remain home was not an easy one. However, after having a number of setbacks over the last few years, the thinking was to break the cycle and to go experience something different in a new environment. I would like to thank The Sharks and SA Rugby for their understanding and support. I would also like to thank all the people that have shown their love and support for me throughout my career so far.
"I have loved my time at The Sharks, and I leave with extremely fond memories. This is a fresh start for Kate and I though, and we look forward to a change of scenery and an exciting new adventure in our lives. I would love to return home one day and potentially finish off my playing days by running out onto Kings Park a few more times.”