Former All Black Adam Thomson has signed a deal with the Chiefs two years after recovering from a spine injury.
The 37-year-old is one of eight replacement players training with the Chiefs and the 29-test All Black started his stint with the Hamilton-based side on Monday.
The former Highlanders, who was a member of the All Blacks' Rugby World Cup-winning squad in 2011, featured for Otago in last season's Mitre 10 Cup after playing in Japan with the Canon Eagles (2013-17) and the Utah Warriors in the United States last year.
"It's a strange old beast this life we live, this time two years ago I was flat on my back in a Japanese hospital unable to walk," Thomson posted on Instagram.
"So never underestimate what the human body can do with a little self-belief and a whole lot of hard work - persistence pays."
"Day 1 done, but we're just getting started. Rent's due. Let's go to work!"
View this post on Instagram
New year, new jersey... ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Last week I was camping in the MacKenzie Country for some overdue kiwi-summer family time. Today I pulled on this jersey and mixed it up with 8 current @allblacks and a @superrugbynz side stacked with talent! ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ It's a strange old beast this life we live, this time 2 years ago I was flat on my back in a Japanese hospital unable to walk. So never underestimate what the human body can do with a little self belief and a whole lot of hard work - persistence pays. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Grateful for the incredible opportunity and warm welcome to this proud franchise @chiefsrugby. And as always, a massive thank you to my partner, family, friends, and rugby fans out there that keep helping to make this journey possible. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Day 1 done, but we're just getting started. Rent's due. Let's go to work! 💪🏻
The Chiefs' All Blacks returned to training this week but none of them will play in Waihi. The Blues are hosting the Chiefs in Super Rugby's opening match on January 31 and their All Blacks who played in last year's World Cup in Japan are likely to return for the Eden Park fixture.