Former All Black first-five Carlos Spencer has joined the Lions for this year's Super 14 in what is reportedly one of the biggest ever contracts in South African rugby.

South Africa's Super Sport website believes Spencer will earn more money than Argentina's Juan Martin Hernandez will receive for playing for the Sharks.

Spencer last played Super Rugby in 2005 and is currently playing for English club Gloucester.

The 34-year-old will also be the skills coach for the Lions Currie Cup side and is viewed as a replacement for the Springbok flyhalf Andre Pretorius, who has left for the Western Force.

- Newstalk ZB