Outgoing French champions Toulouse have announced the signature of All Blacks wing Hosea Gear, who will join the club in July.
Gear will head to the south of France, where he will link up with former All Black Luke McAlister, in time to prepare for the next Top 14 season as a 'medical joker' for injured French international wing Vincent Clerc, who is recovering from knee surgery.
29-year-old Gear has played 14 Tests for the All Blacks since making his international debut in 2008 but has 70 Super Rugby caps for the Hurricanes and Highlanders.
New Zealand Rugby Union chief executive Steve Tew confirmed Gear's departure.
"I've got no feel for what Toulouse have offered," Tew told TVNZ. "The French have been a little bit quieter of late... let's hope it's not the awakening of their wallets.
"At the end of the day we negotiated a contract with Hosea that gave him the opportunity to make a decision now. Obviously we would have preferred to keep him here, but ultimately we will respect the decision he made.
The timing of his Gear's decision suggests he would have missed the cut for the three-Test series against France in June. The All Blacks name their squad on Sunday.