Former All Black wing Jonah Lomu will play rugby for North Harbour in the NPC this season.

North Harbour officials confirmed today they had signed Lomu on a two-year contract.

He will start training with the North Harbour squad in June when he returns from his comeback match in a testimonial game for former England captain Martin Johnson at Twickenham.

North Harbour chief executive Noel Coom said a player of Lomu's quality and stature could only "strengthen and positively add to our team. We can't wait for the season to begin."

North Harbour coach Allan Pollock said his skills and presence would be of great benefit to the team.

"Not only does Jonah have speed, strength and great skills on offer but his desire and focus will impact the whole union.

"This is exemplified by his all or nothing approach to his come back - choosing to play his first game at one of the most high profile matches this year is a huge call."

Lomu has been out of rugby for two years after a kidney disease forced him to have dialysis for eight hours a day before a kidney transplant last year.

In a statement Lomu said he had a dream to return to rugby and a plan to get there.

"Getting out on the field, that's goal number one and I'm really pleased to be doing that with Harbour.

"It's the best of all worlds for me right now," he said.

The 63-test veteran played 28 NPC games for Counties-Manukau between 1994-98 and 21 games for Wellington after joining them in 2000.

A cluster of provinces - Wellington, Auckland, Harbour and Counties Manukau - had been chasing a deal with Lomu since he indicated his desire to return to top-level rugby.

The Herald understands the 29-year-old wanted to stay in Auckland, rather than return to his old Wellington union, and had to balance his prospects with the other three provinces.

Counties have an uncertain future in the premier division, Auckland have test wings Doug Howlett and Joe Rokocoko, and Harbour have lost Rico and Hosea Gear on transfer.

Lomu became the youngest All Black when he made his test debut against France in 1994 at the age of 19 years and 45 days. He was the star of the World Cup in South Africa the following year.

He was diagnosed with kidney nephritis in 1996, but managed to play 63 tests until his last against Wales in 2002. On the tour to France in 2000, in a rare revelation about his medical struggles, Lomu said it felt like he was dragging a cardboard box behind him.

Eventually his kidney problems caused him to withdraw from the Super 12 in 2003 and last July he had a successful transplant after broadcaster Grant Kereama donated a kidney.

Lomu was well enough to accept an invitation from Italy to travel last year to Europe, where he spoke about his intention to return to top-level rugby and play in the 2007 World Cup.

It was evident then that Lomu was driven to return to the sport.

He has recovered from minor ankle surgery this year and undergone a lengthy fitness regime.

Lomu was cleared medically to return to rugby about the time he revealed he would make his comeback in the June 4 match at Twickenham to celebrate Martin Johnson's career.