All Blacks centre Tamati Ellison will rejoin the Japanese club side Ricoh at the end of the current Super Rugby season adding to the New Zealand player drain of talent in the midfield.
Ellison first played for the All Blacks in 2009 but left soon after to play in Japan.
Last year however Ellison returned to try and win back his All Blacks jersey.
Injury has curtailed his appearances for the Dunedin-based Highlanders this season. Ellison has also had stints with the Hurricanes.
Of the current All Blacks centers, Conrad Smith is injured and Ma'a Nonu out of form.
Richard Kahui will play in Japan next season if he overcomes a shoulder injury and Rene Ranger is due to take up a contract in France.