All Black confirms Japan move
Wellington - Forward Adam Thomson has become the latest All Black to sign a lucrative contract to play club rugby in Japan, joining the Canon Eagles on a two-year deal.
Thomson played for the Highlanders Super Rugby team last season and was selected in the All Blacks end-of-year tour of Europe but did not renew his contract with the New Zealand Rugby Union (NZRU).
The 31-year-old will not be eligible for the All Blacks while playing in Japan and the move is likely to bring his 29-Test international career to an end.
"I'm excited to be embarking on the next stage of my career with the Canon Eagles in 2013 but jointly saddened to be closing a significant chapter of my life," he said in a statement posted on the All Blacks website late on Thursday.
"I'm humbled and proud to have had the opportunity to represent Chiefs, the Highlanders and the All Blacks throughout my career."
Fellow All Black Richard Kahui announced last week that he will join Japan's Toshiba Brave Lupus on a two-year contract after seeing out the current Super Rugby season with the Chiefs.
While All Blacks coach Steve Hansen complained this week that Kahui had not given him a chance to change his mind before signing the deal, he indicated Thomson was heading to Japan with his blessing.
"On behalf of the All Blacks, we want to wish Adam well on the next step of his rugby career," Hansen said. "He is an outstanding, world-class loose forward who always gave his very best."