Former All Black Adam Thomson will make a surprise comeback to rugby, after overcoming a severe spinal infection that left him unable to walk.
The 29-test veteran has signed with the Utah Warriors in the US Major League Rugby competition for the remainder of the 2019 season and also for next season.
The announcement was made at halftime during Utah's win over the Austin Elite on Sunday (NZ time).
Thomson's return to rugby marks a stunning comeback to the sport, after spending all last year recovering from a spinal infection.
In December 2017, he went was admitted to hospital, where he spent 57 days, after being diagnosed with lumbar discitis, a painful infection of the spine.
In an interview with Newshub last year, Thomson reflected on how tough the ordeal was.
"The first month I couldn't walk," he recounted. "I had a lot of pain attacks that could last up to a couple of hours, before medication arrived.
"I couldn't get out of the bed, so the first part of it was just getting the pain under control and the second month was about the rehabilitation, trying to get back on my feet again."
"Those experiences test your character - I had a lot of dark times, a lot of questions. Am I going to come out the other side?
"Am I going to be the same person again? Am I going to have a life that I can physically do what I want to do?"
Last week, on Instagram, Thomson hinted he was planning a return to rugby.
"I've loved having the last year off to rest, recover and explore other opportunities, but I've always had one thing in the back of my mind - to return to the rugby field," he said. "I think it's about time."
The Warriors have five games remaining this season and they currently sit seventh in the nine-team competition, with just two wins this season.
They are coached by former Waikato Rugby Union administrator Alf Daniels.
Three more American teams will join the competition in 2020.