The Springboks first five Morne Steyn has led an exodus of players out of the three-time Super Rugby champion Bulls to overseas clubs, the latest group of South African players to head to big-paying teams in Europe and Japan.
The Pretoria-based Bulls said the contracts of the eight players, all South African internationals, had expired and they're leaving before the start of the domestic Currie Cup this weekend.
Their departures were confirmed three days after the Bulls lost to the Brumbies in the Super Rugby semi-finals last Sunday, the first time the Bulls have dropped a post-season game in South Africa.
The Bulls chief executive said they tried to retain a number of the players, but they couldn't compete with the salaries overseas.
Winger JP Pietersen rocketed into the top 10 sports earners in South Africa recently after signing a $US1.1 million contract for one season with Japan's Panasonic Wild Knights, five times his total income from South African rugby.