Former All Blacks lock Isaac Ross has been brought into the Tasman Mako rugby squad for the remainder of their Mitre 10 Cup campaign.
Having been with Japanese side NTT Communications Shining Arcs, Ross' rugby future in Japan came to an end as a result of an obscure Top League rule that has effectively called into question the validity of his status as a Japanese citizen.
With 2020 All Black Quinten Strange and last year’s standout Pari Pari Parkinson ruled out of contention through injury, plus local back-up options Antonio Shalfoon and Max Hicks also struggling to shake off injuries, Ross was seen as a handy addition to the squad at a crucial time of the season.
The 35-year-old, who turned out on eight occasions for the All Blacks, has been playing with the NTT Communications Shining Arcs side in Japan since 2011.
Ross followed in the footsteps of his father, Jock Ross - a 1981 All Blacks lock, when he pulled on an All Black jersey for the first time in 2009.
At domestic level Isaac represented Canterbury and has played for the Chiefs, Crusaders and Highlanders at Super Rugby level since his debut in 2007.
He has played 53 games for Canterbury, 23 for the Crusaders, nine for the Highlanders and 11 for the Chiefs, plus 83 for the Shining Arcs.
The current locking options for the Mako, as they battle to bounce back after Sunday’s shock loss to North Harbour, are Alex Ainley, Te Ahiwaru Cirikidaveta and Mahonri Ngakuru.