Chiefs' halfback Brendon Leonard has announced that he will leave the Chiefs and New Zealand and continue his career in Italy at the end of the Super Rugby season.
The twenty-eight year old from Matamata has signed with the Italian club Zebre for two seasons.
The highly respected halfback has played 73 games for the Chiefs and is looking forward to experiencing a new culture.
"I have been in Waikato my whole life and the time in my career has come to explore some new challenges and travel," said Leonard.
Chiefs' coach Dave Rennie said, "Brendon is an outstanding man. He has been a big part of our success and a fantastic servant of the Chiefs. He has been a massive contributor to our team and will be greatly missed. "
"We also appreciate that it is a great opportunity for him and wish him all the best for his new move."
Brendon Leonard is in his seventh season with the Chiefs and has worn the All Black jersey 14 times and played in thirteen tests.
He has appeared 63 times for his provincial side Waikato and will leave for Italy at the conclusion of the Chiefs campaign making him unavailable for Waikato for this year's ITM Cup.
The Chiefs next match will be against the Hurricanes at Waikato Stadium on Friday 28 June.