Cape Town - Warren Whiteley is one of four South African players who have been released by NTT Docomo Red Hurricanes in Japan.
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The 30-year-old, who was named Allister Coetzee's Springbok captain at the beginning of the 2017 international season, then missed the rest of the year with injury.
He is back now, though, and is expected to lead the Lions in this year's Super Rugby competition.
The Docomo Red Hurricanes, meanwhile, have confirmed that Whiteley as well as Ryan Kankowski, Heinrich Brussow and Jurgen Visser have all been released.
The club confirmed the news on their website on Monday.
This follows the Hurricanes being relegated from Japan's Top League for the 2018/19 season, forcing the club to get rid of some of their higher-paid players.
Yamaha Jubilo, meanwhile, have confirmed that former Bulls and Stormers wing Gerhard van den Heever has also left the club.