Former All Blacks flanker Adam Thomson will make his return to Super Rugby next year.
In a surprising move, the 29-Test World Cup-winner will follow the footsteps of former All Black openside Daniel Braid, signing a new deal with the Queensland Reds.
Having played 68 games for the Highlanders since 2006, Thomson signed a two-season deal with the newly promoted Canon Eagles in the Japanese Top League last year and is currently the leading try scorer for the 2014-15 season.
He last played in New Zealand for Otago in 2012 and was later called up for the All Blacks' end-of-year tour to Europe.
The 32-year-old is expected to link up with the Reds once the Japanese season ends early next year.
"As an All Black and World Cup winner, his influence on the Super Rugby competition has been enormous. He was at the heart of everything the Highlanders did. His signing is another indication of the quality of player and person we want to bring to the Reds," said Reds head coach Richard Graham.
Thomson is the club's third high profile signing during the off season, after former Wallaby James O'Conner and Kangaroos fullback Karmichael Hunt were unveiled earlier this year.
His signing is set to provide further experience to the pack and leadership for the young back rowers in the squad, including up-and-comers Curtis Browning and Lolo Fakaosilea.
"Adam rounds out a highly competitive back row and he brings an outstanding skill set to the way that we want to play the game. Along with Jake (Schatz) I believe Adam is one of the best aerial forwards in the modern game."
"Whilst Adam will have a role as mentor to some of the younger players, his priority is to be the best player he can. He understands the greatest influence he can have on the group is through his performances and I can assure you he is excited by that challenge."
Excited to announce the next step on my rugby journey.. Joining the Queensland Reds for the 2015 super… http://t.co/3e4pamCxtq— Adam Thomson (@adamjohnthomson) October 8, 2014
REDS 2015 SQUAD:
Front row: Ben Daley, Saia Fainga'a (re-signed), James Slipper, James Hanson, Greg Holmes (re-signed), Andrew Ready (EPS)
Second row: Dave McDuling, Ed O'Donoghue (re-signed), Rob Simmons, James Horwill
Back row: Curtis Browning, Lalo Fakaosilea (EPS – new signing), Liam Gill, Eddie Quirk (re-signed), Beau Robinson, Jake Schatz (re-signed), Adam Thomson, Hendrik Tui (new signing)
Halves: Quade Cooper, Nick Frisby (re-signed), Will Genia , Duncan Paia-aua (new signing)
Centres: Anthony Fainga'a (re-signed), Chris Feauai-Sautia (re-signed), Samu Kerevi (new signing), Ben Tapuai (re-signed)
Outside backs: Karmichael Hunt (new signing), Chris Kuridrani (new signing), James O'Connor (new signing), Jamie-Jerry Taulagi, Lachie Turner