Brad Thorn may link with the Highlanders to play one last season of rugby, back in the province where it all started.
Thorn, who will be 38 in February, is believed to have met Highlanders coach Jamie Joseph in Japan last month and agreed to play for the Dunedin-based franchise next year.
Joseph and Highlanders general manager Roger Clark could not be contacted yesterday but the signature of the big lock will be a huge boost for the side.
Although he is closer to 40 than 30, Thorn, who was born in Mosgiel, has played at the top level for 18 years, in rugby and league, and has won almost everything in both forms of the game.
Along with new addition Tony Woodcock, the All Black prop, and experienced All Black hooker Andrew Hore, the Highlanders' forward pack will have a look of steel about it.
Thorn last played in this country for the All Blacks at last year's World Cup, being a key man for the home side as it won the tournament.
He then left for Japan on a two-year deal to play for the Fukuoka Sanix Blues. That contract will finish around late February, just in time to play for the Highlanders.
Thorn may be in the veteran stage and old enough to play golden oldies rugby, but he is a consummate professional and his training habits and discipline would be a great asset for the Highlanders.
Normally, we'd be sceptical about someone of 38 making a comeback of sorts. But Brad Thorn is anything but the average 38-year-old. He is supremely fit and has an incredible work ethic, and that is bound to rub off on those around him.
If this comes to pass, it will give the Highlanders a pretty solid forward pack next season; an area where they have struggled in recent years. And we're sure that the punters will flock to the Forsyth Barr Stadium to celebrate the stellar career of a local boy made good; let's hope it happens.