Brad Thorn in action for Leinster. Photo: Getty Images
Former All Blacks legend Brad Thorn has signed a 12-month contract with the Highlanders for next year's Super Rugby season.
Thorn was part of the 2011 Rugby World Cup-winning All Blacks side, and has since been playing for Fukuoka Sanix Blues in Japan's Top League.
He joins the Highlanders early in the new year to begin preparation for the 2013 season.
Thorn, who will be 38 by kickoff next year, has tasted success in the NRL with the Brisbane Broncos and played State of Origin for Queensland in addition to three Tests for the Kangaroos.
This was followed by a stint in Super Rugby with the Crusaders and, more recently, with Irish province Leinster, who he helped to win the Heineken Cup last year.
He made his debut for the All Blacks in 2003, and played 59 Tests in total, with the Rugby World Cup win over France last year his final appearance in the black jersey.
Highlanders coach Jamie Joseph, who recently returned from a visit to Japan, believes Thorn's inclusion will be invaluable for the Highlanders' 2013 campaign.
"Brad brings a great deal of professionalism to any team he plays for. His work ethic, experience and leadership will add a great deal to our team and have a very positive influence on the younger players," he said.
"Brad is a very competitive athlete and, from what I saw in Japan recently, he is still playing rugby at an international standard."