The absence of All Black Adam Thomson from the Highlanders squad for next season is yet another indication the loose forward is about to head overseas.
All up there are 11 current or former All Blacks in the Highlanders squad with test hooker Andrew Hore to captain the side in place of prop Jamie Macintosh, who remains in the squad despite the arrival of All Black prop Tony Woodcock.
It's a change of fortune for Hore who was only sacked from the Hurricanes last year.
His former Hurricanes team-mate Ma'a Nonu comes into the squad having left the Blues in controversial circumstances.
Coach Jamie Joseph hasn't found a place in the squad though for the 34 year old Southland hooker Jason Rutledge, who's played 58 games for the Highlanders having first appeared for the franchise in 2004.
The Highlanders squad:
Josh Bekhuis, Tim Boys, Phil Burleigh, Liam Coltman, Elliot Dixon, Tamati Ellison, Jason Emery, Ma'afu Fia, Hosea Gear, John Hardie, Jarrad Hoeata, Andrew Hore, Chris King, Jamie Mackintosh, Nasi Manu, Brayden Mitchell, Ma'a Nonu, Declan O'Donnell, Jake Paringatai, Kade Poki, Hayden Parker, Buxton Popoalii, Colin Slade, Aaron Smith, Ben Smith, Lima Sopoaga, Fumiaki Tanaka, Brad Thorn, Shaun Treeby, Joe Wheeler, Tony Woodcock