Key pivot Mitch Hunt has extended his stay with the Highlanders until the end of the 2023 season.
The Nelson native joins a host of players who have recently re-signed through the next Rugby World Cup, including Shannon Frizell, Folau Fakatava and Aaron Smith.
The 25-year-old joined the Dunedin-based franchise in 2020, after four years and 46 games with the Crusaders.
Searching for more game-time off the back of his stellar form for Tasman Mako - whom he helped to their first Mitre 10 Cup in 2019 - Hunt has become a key piece for Tony Brown's team and cemented his spot at first-five.
"I think, since moving from Christchurch, I've played in every game possible and the reason for my move down here was the opportunity," Hunt says.
"I'm stoked to be back with the group, because I've had such a great time down here. The purpose of moving was great, the environment is great and the people are great.
"The decision comes really easy for me to stick around."
Hunt believes his move south has played significant dividends, resulting in a more consistently high-quality product on the field.
"The growth for me has been humongous down here, hence why I want to stick around," he adds.
"If that becomes an opportunity for a player to get more minutes and grow, I think it's beneficial."
Join us at 2:30pm Sunday for live updates of the Highlanders v Melbourne Rebels Super Rugby Trans-Tasman clash