Springbok eighthman Duane Vermeulen. Photo: EPA

PARIS - South Africa No.8 Duane Vermeulen will leave Toulon at the end of the season, club president Mourad Boudjellal said on Wednesday, with New Zealand's Jerome Kaino a rumoured replacement.

Vermeulen, 31, will return to South African side Stormers, the club he left to join Toulon in 2015.

"Vermeulen is leaving, he will be replaced by an international level player that we will announce in the next 48 hours," said the controversial Boudjellal, who is currently being investigated by European rugby authorities over comments he made at the weekend about Irish and Welsh administrators at European Professional Club Rugby.

"Duane is leaving because he wants to prepare for the World Cup (in Japan in 2019) -- we had offered him a contract that corresponded to the amount of time he works."

Boudjellal suggested that meant the French Top 14 side had offered Vermeulen a pay cut.

"We wouldn't have had him for half the year -- over 24 months he would have been at the club for 11 months.

"We made him a great offer but he wants to go home and his national team coach is relying on him."

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