Crusaders loose forward Matt Todd has signed on to play for the Panasonic Wild Knights in Japan's Top League, but will return to Super Rugby in 2019.
Todd, 30, will join the Robbie Deans-coached club at the end of the current Super Rugby season in August and will miss Canterbury's Mitre 10 Cup campaign.
He won't be the only Kiwi Super Rugby player honing his craft in the Japanese league, with Highlanders loose forward Elliot Dixon also set to play in the league this year.
Todd said he was looking forward to the opportunity to experience a different brand of rugby.
"I know they are an extremely successful club who play a great style of rugby, and are also very well coached. My family and I are really looking forward to getting up to Japan and experiencing Ota and the Japanese way of life."
Crusaders coach Scott Robertson was excited to have Todd recommit to the Crusaders for the 2019 season, and said the stint in Japan would do Todd some good.
"Matt is a phenomenal player and this is a great opportunity for him to head over to Japan, experience a different brand of rugby over there, and freshen up ahead of our 2019 season."