Bath No.8 Luke Watson has announced he is set to return to South Africa at the end of his current deal.
Watson has been a pivotal figure since arriving at the Rec however he has now agreed a three-year deal to join Eastern Province Kings from June 2011.
Announcing his decision to leave Bath on Twitter, Watson said: "Incredibly tough decision. I have loved my time at Bath. The supporters have been amazing and the club is incredibly special to me.
"My time thus far at Bath has been invaluable. It has been one of the best experiences of my life and I'll be forever grateful for that.
"However the opportunity to return home to SA and especially to my home city PE (Port Elizabeth), is one that I have to grab with both hands!"
Eastern Province Kings, formerly known as the Mighty Elephants, are managed by Alan Solomons and ply their trade in the Curries Cup First Division.
He will join former Premiership players Rudi Keil and De Wet Barry at the club, which along with Border Bulldogs and SWD Eagles will form the Super Rugby franchise the Southern Kings.
Watson, who was capped 10 times by South Africa during a controversial international career, joined Bath in November 2009 having previously played for Western Province and the Stormers.
With his father Cheeky the president of the Kings, Watson revealed the emotional pull of returning to his first club was too great to resist.
"This has been one of the most difficult decisions I've ever had to make. I love everything about Bath - the city, the people, and, most importantly, the club," he said in a Bath statement.
"I've enjoyed my time here immensely, but I feel that the opportunity to go back to my home city and to the club that I first played professional rugby for is the chance of a lifetime and one that I can't miss, both for myself and my family.
"I would like to thank everyone at the club for making my time here so enjoyable, and I would also like to say a big thank you to the club's loyal supporters for all their support during the last two seasons."