Former All Black Jarrad Hoeata is expected to leave New Zealand after the Super Rugby season and take up a contract in Wales.
While those close to Hoeata said he was yet to make a final decision, reports from Wales yesterday strongly suggested the 30-year-old's move to the Cardiff Blues was only subject to clearance from the Welsh Rugby Union.
Highlanders coach Jamie Joseph and chief executive Roger Clarke both declined to comment yesterday.
The Taranaki Rugby Union said Hoeata, who has played 68 games for the province, was contracted until the end of their 2014 campaign.
However, like many experienced players it is expected he will have a clause that allows him to skip the NPC season.
Hoeata, who played three tests for the All Blacks, against Fiji and South Africa in 2011 can also cover blindside flanker, has been lined up at the club as a second-row replacement for Wales lock Bradley Davies.
He would follow Jonah Lomu, Xavier Rush, Ben Blair, Paul Tito and Michael Paterson as Kiwi exports to link up with the Cardiff club.