Former All Black Caleb Ralph is close to signing to play for Ngati Porou East Coast in this season's Heartland Championship.
Ralph, who played 14 tests and 126 times for the Crusaders, was called up by the Reds last season but is now living in Rotorua.
East Coast coach Ngarimu Simpkins said he was confident Ralph, 34, would play for his side in the Heartland Championship this season.
"We're rapt that he wants to play for the Coast," said Simpkins. "He likes the culture of the Coast and we've no doubt he will fit in with the boys and be a hit with our supporters.
"This has got to be one of the biggest signings, if not the biggest, for a Heartland team."
Ralph scored 58 tries in his Super Rugby career, a record second only to former All Black Doug Howlett's 59.