Highlanders halfback Jimmy Cowan is leaving New Zealand rugby to play for Gloucester.
Cowan, 28, in his 10th year with the Highlanders, will leave for the English club later in the year, he said yesterday.
Cowan has played 51 tests for the All Blacks since making his debut against Italy on the 2004 Northern Hemisphere tour. He played his 50th test against Canada in last year's Rugby World Cup.
Ten days ago he became just the second Highlanders player (behind hooker Anton Oliver) to play 100 matches for the franchise. He has also clocked up 94 matches for Southland.
New Zealand Rugby Union chief executive Steve Tew said: "Jimmy is one of the real characters of New Zealand rugby and has grown so much as a player and a person since coming onto the scene more than a decade ago. He has been an incredibly loyal player - for his club, province, the Highlanders and the All Blacks - and we wish him well."
All Blacks coach Steve Hansen said: "Jimmy has been an outstanding All Black and given his all every time he has worn the black jersey. He is a passionate player and fantastic team man who wears his heart on his sleeve. Jimmy has the respect of all his teammates ... and we are very proud of what he has achieved at all levels of the game ... he goes with the best wishes of the team."
Highlanders coach Jamie Joseph said: "Jimmy has been a player who has always given his all on the field and I'm sure he will continue to do so in the future. As one of only two players to play 100 games for the Highlanders he leaves behind a significant legacy."