All Blacks flank Liam Squire will join Japanese side NTT Docomo Red Hurricanes on a permanent two-year deal from the Highlanders in 2020.
The 27-year-old played for the Chiefs in the 2014 and 2015 Vodacom Super Rugby seasons before heading south in 2016 to join the Highlanders, with a reputation as a bruising defender and hard-running attacker.
After making his All Blacks debut in 2016, Squire has had a couple of injury-marred seasons. He started only 40 of a possible 95 games for franchise and country over the past three years due mainly to knee, hand and shoulder issues.
It is thought that a couple of years in Japan could allow him to preserve his body and prolong his Test career.
‘It seems like the right time to go,’ Squire said in a statement. ‘I have really loved my time in New Zealand with the Tasman Mako, and in particular down here with the Highlanders.
‘It’s a club that gave me a chance and I appreciate the support I have had in the south. I am certainly keen to have a really good last season with the guys.’