I am ready for a new adventure
Star Blues back Isaia Toeava has become the latest All Black to succumb to the lure of the Yen.
He confirmed at the weekend that he had signed a two-year deal with the Canon Eagles in Japan and will head for the Tokyo-based club at the conclusion of this year's Super Rugby season.
Toeava, 26, recently had surgery on a troublesome hip that has kept him out of the Blues and All Blacks so far this year, but is healing well and his rehabilitation will be closely monitored in Japan.
"I want to thank the people who have helped me along the way in my rugby career," he said in a statement.
"From school days through to now, I am very grateful for the opportunities I have been given at Auckland Rugby, the Blues and the All Blacks and the people who showed faith in me.
"But now I am ready for a new adventure and even though it's hard to leave behind friends and family, I am excited about the chance to experience a different culture playing rugby in a new country."
Toeava has played 38 matches for the All Blacks and 61 for the Blues.
In 2005, at the age of 19, Toeava played for the All Blacks with only eight provincial caps to his name. He had not yet played Super Rugby. Named the Under-19 IRB Player of the Year that same year, Toeava's career was well on its way.
A dynamic utility back with a natural flare for the game, Toeava will be sorely missed by the Blues.