Veteran fullback Israel Dagg has ruled himself out of All Blacks contention for the rest of the year after signing a short-term Japan contract.
Dagg confirmed he will join the Canon Eagles when his Super Rugby duties finish and return to New Zealand in December.
The 66-Test veteran hasn’t played for New Zealand since last September, having been sidelined for long periods by a chronic knee problem.
He has made just four appearances for the Crusaders, with a return to the field in May cut short when hit in a high tackle by Brumbies winger Chance Peni.
The 30-year-old says his Japan stint doesn’t mark the permanent end of his Test career.
“It is going to be an awesome adventure. What happens after that takes care of itself,” he told website stuff.co.nz.
More top Kiwi players are signing short Japanese contracts.
Dagg’s team-mate Matt Todd will do the same, along with Highlanders trio Richard Buckman, Elliot Dixon and Tom Franklin.