Japan international hooker Shota Horie has put pen to a new one-year deal with the Melbourne Rebels.
The 27-year-old enjoyed an impressive debut season with the Super Rugby outfit and has been rewarded with another contract.
With Ged Robinson returning to New Zealand at the end of the current campaign, Horie is in pole position to claim a starting berth next year.
"I am very glad to stay here in Melbourne for the 2014 season," said Horie.
"In my first year, I could not contribute to the team as much as I would have liked, but was able to learn a lot about Super Rugby.
"Next season I am looking to play more minutes and continue to earn the respect of my teammates on the field."
Rebels assistant coach Matt Cockbain praised the progress that the Cherry Blossoms' skipper has made.
"Shota is one of the most skillful forwards in the competition," said Cockbain.
"His application and professionalism is world class, which earned him his first Super Rugby start against the Blues in Auckland.
"His set piece has come a long way in one season, in particular his scrummaging which he has spent the vast majority of his efforts on since arriving at the Club this year.
"He is a very popular member of the squad, and the playing group and coaching staff have a lot of faith in his Rugby ability, and we are very pleased he is going to remain a Rebel for the 2014 season."