Kubota Spears have pulled off a coup by signing South Africa number eight Duane Vermeulen.

Vermeulen had been linked with Bath, but the 31-year-old has agreed a deal for a move to the Top League after ending a three-year spell with Toulon.

The forward confirmed he would miss the Rugby Championship after starting all three Tests in the Springboks' 2-1 series win over England.

Vermeulen was coy when asked if his absence was due to a new club commitment, but the former Stormers man's switch was confirmed on Thursday.

"I am honoured and grateful to be a member of the Kubota family and looking forward to joining the Spears." said Vermeulen.

"I promise to share my experiences I have been honoured with so far with all of Kubota Spears and will do my best on and off the field for Kubota Spears. And from Kubota Spears' team-mates, I would like to learn more about the attitude to rugby and many other things."

The Spears are coached by former Lions and Bulls mentor Frans Ludeke.