Adam Thomson has finally confirmed he is off to Japan,
saying there was no mystery to his destination - the deal
simply took time.
Thomson, who turns 31 next month, has signed a two-year
contract with the Canon Eagles and will have to be in Japan
by April 1 for pre-season training. He will not be able to
play for any Super 15 team before he leaves for Japan.
Thomson said he just felt it was time for him to leave New
''I just had this feeling I had done what I wanted do here
and it was time to look around for something new,'' he said.
''I love the Highlanders and love the region and it has been
a pretty special place for me over the years. But at the end
of the day, I have made a decision for the future.''
The Highlanders have signed some big names over the
off-season and Thomson said it was just bad timing he was now
leaving with the side full of potential.
The Highlanders tried to sign Thomson for a short-term
contract for part of the season but had trouble locating him,
and any deal was given the thumbs down by his new club and
the New Zealand Rugby Union.
The All Black loose forward's future had been a mystery over
past months as he had not announced where he was heading for
this season and remained uncontracted for this year.
But Thomson, who is now based in Auckland, has not been
playing games. He said the deal was not finalised until the
past couple of days, so he could not make any comment.
''I suppose I'm in a unique situation. When most people head
to Japan they play a full Super rugby season and then go
over. I'm almost doing it in reverse. But they want me over
there for a full pre-season.''
The Canon Eagles also have former Highlanders Callum Bruce
and Kane Thompson on their books, along with former All Black
Thomson made his All Black debut in 2008 and played 29 tests,
the most recent against Scotland at Murrayfield last year. He
played 71 times for the Highlanders and 54 games for Otago.
He was something of a late bloomer, not making the
Highlanders until 2008, but has been the franchise's best
player for the past five years, grabbing lineout ball and
turnovers, and showing blinding speed around the paddock.
''It has been a roller-coaster ride, really up and down. I
took a while to get a start with a Super team and then I just
stuck with the Highlanders, and also with Otago. That is
almost a bit of a rarity these days, being with one province
and franchise the whole time.
''It's going to be hard to leave the place and I'm really
grateful for all the opportunities they have given me.''
He will be watching the Highlanders closely tonight, but
admitted he will not miss the tough trainings.
As for his All Black career, Thomson said it had not really
sunk in he had played 29 tests, including winning a World
''When I was a young, scrawny kid growing up in Ashburton if
someone had told me I would play in 29 tests I wouldn't have
''It is pretty surreal what I have done in the black jersey.
One test would have been enough for me.''