The Highlanders have announced that promising Melbourne Rebels prop Tyrel Lomax has joined them for the 2019 and 2020 seasons.
Lomax made his Super Rugby debut for the Rebels earlier this year and is the son of former Kiwis Rugby League prop John Lomax, who played 15 Tests for the Kiwis between 1992-1998.
Lomax grew up playing league in Wellington but switched to rugby when the Lomax family moved to Australia. He was a member of the 2015/16 Australian U20 team and was named the Australian U20 player of the year in 2016.
While his Australian contract still has a year to run, which is preventing an earlier return to New Zealand, Lomax has committed his long term future to New Zealand.
Seen as a player with a bright future Lomax was named in Michael Cheika's original 48-man squad for 2017 before withdrawing, while it may have been a difficult decision to return to New Zealand he is sure it’s for the best.
"I grew up in New Zealand and as an aspiring rugby player the chance to play for a New Zealand Super Rugby club was too good an opportunity to turn down," Lomax told the Highlanders' official website.
"As a young prop I can’t wait to get to the Highlanders, they have an awesome culture there and I just want to immerse myself in it and learn as much as possible."
Highlanders chief executive Roger Clark has been in contact with Lomax and is impressed.
"Throughout our dealings with Tyrel he has shown himself to be a mature young man with a real determination to learn and improve, he has a real desire to go as far as he can in the game," he said.
"He will fit in well at the Highlanders and we would like to think this is just the start for Tyrel, we believe he has a very bright future in front of him."
Highlanders head coach Aaron Mauger is delighted the young prop has committed to the Highlanders.
"Clearly we see Tyrel as an exciting future prospect for the club, a strong ball carrying prop, we think his game will benefit from our environment and he will add depth to our squad," said Mauger.