The Highlanders will get their hands on prop Tyrel Lomax a year earlier than originally expected.
Lomax, the son of former Kiwis rugby league prop John Lomax, will play for the Dunedin-based franchise in next year's Super Rugby competition.
The Highlanders announced they had signed the 21-year-old on a two deal two weeks ago, but would have to wait until 2019 for him to play because he still had a year to run on his contract with the Melbourne Rebels
However, the Australian side cut him loose last week, before Highlander's chief executive Roger Clark confirmed the tighthead prop would join the team next season.
Lomax is also contracted to Mitre 10 Cup team Tasman, who he debuted for off the bench in their 29-27 win over Otago in Dunedin last weekend.