Wellington - All Blacks wing Rene Ranger confirmed on Thursday he was quitting his international career and will head to France at the end of the year on a lucrative contract with Montpellier.
Ranger ended weeks of speculation about his future just hours after he learned he had earned a place in the starting side for Saturday's third Test against France after explosive performances off the bench in the first two Tests.
"It's a lot of weight off my shoulders," he said when confirming the move to Montpellier after several weeks of deflecting questions about his future.
"I'm finally heading off after the end of the year so exciting times. It's all been confirmed."
The 26-year-old, who was recalled to the All Blacks this year after three years in the wilderness, added he was unsure if he would try to re-ignite his Test career when his contract with the Top 14 French club expired.
"I'd love to come back home but that's two years away so we'll see what happens."
The blockbusting wing has enjoyed a stellar season with the Blues in the Super Rugby competition this year, and earned an All Blacks jersey for the first time since he appeared in three Tests in 2010.
However, at the end of last year, when it appeared his international career was over, he signed an agreement to play for Montpellier from the end of the 2013 season.
Once back in the All Blacks fold Ranger has been looking to get out of the deal, but New Zealand media reports said the NZ$300 000 fee to walk away from the contract proved too much.
Ranger has built a reputation as a bruising runner with the ball, but his elevation to the run-on side on Saturday will be only his second start in six Tests.