Sharks utility back Louis Ludik has left the Currie Cup champions after signing a lucrative contract with French club Agen.
Agen were relegated from the Top 14 at the end of last season and are currently campaigning in the ProD2 competition.
Ludik departed for France at the conclusion of the successful Currie Cup campaign, allowing him to leave the Durban-based outfit with a sense of accomplishment ahead of a new chapter in his life.
He arrived at the Sharks in 2009 following a horrific injury sustained at the Lions and was unable to make an immediate impact, spending his early time in rehab. But once he started playing, he became an integral part of the team.
"Playing for The Sharks was by far, absolutely the best experience of my life," he told The Sharks' official website.
"Obviously there were a lot of challenges, being the only non-Bok made it tough sometimes to get into the squad - and stay in especially.
"But it was an amazing experience to play with such good players. There were challenges, but I loved being here.
"There were a lot of expectations riding on our success, from ourselves and the public, which meant we could never relax. But that's the life of a professional rugby player."
The only aspect that he doesn't see as a positive is not fulfilling his Springbok aspirations and that contributed to his decision-making process.
"I came to The Sharks with the dream of becoming a Springbok, and unfortunately that didn't work out," Ludik added.
"The decision to go over to France was made much easier when it was communicated to me that I was not really in the Bok plans."
Having made his debut for The Sharks in the 2010 Currie Cup, he tasted success right away.
"Winning the Currie Cup that year was one of the highlights of my time with The Sharks," he admitted.
"Last year too was very special for us as a team and for me personally too, it was awesome. Touring, playing well, winning, it was really nice to be a part of the Super Rugby campaign.
"And then getting into the Currie Cup Final again. It was a good season for me. It was my favourite year of all, one I will never forget."
But time and opportunities march on and when the offer to go to France came, it was something he had to consider.
"The decision to stay or go was a huge one for us to make," explained Ludik.
"We prayed a lot, it was a long process which was actually a blessing in disguise as we didn't have like one week to pack up and go.
"The Sharks wanted me to play out the last six months of my contract and Agen were cool about that, for me to finish the Currie Cup.
"It will be a challenge with the colder weather, especially after this wonderful weather in Durban, but it's something you have to deal with.
"But I am looking forward to going, they were willing to sign me at the beginning of 2012 for this year, and I visited there a couple of months ago to check it all out and they treated me professionally and with respect. I was very impressed."