All Blacks and Crusaders winger Zac Guildford has agreed to leave New Zealand and play in France for Top 14 and Heineken Cup Rugby club Clermont Auvergne according to reports.
French media are claiming that Guildford who has won 10 caps for the All Blacks will join the French club in the middle of the year and will replace Sitiveni Sivivatu who is joining Castres.
Guildford is still expected to play Super Rugby for the Crusaders in 2014 and has a year left to run on his Hawke's Bay contract although he has an exit clause that would allow him to leave New Zealand and play in France.
Hawke's Bay CEO Mike Bishop said last month that they would need to win Lotto if they were to compete against the cash rish French clubs and that the chance of playing for the All Blacks was the only thing keeping many players in New Zealand Rugby.
"The only way we can do that is if we win Lotto," Bishop told Stuff.
"In many ways New Zealand rugby can't compete. It is just the chance of representing the All Blacks that keeps many players in this country."
The move will almost certainly rule out Guildford's chances of playing for the All Blacks in the 2015 Rugby World Cup and he has stated that he still wants to play for the World Champions but the rise of newcomers Charles Piutau and Frank Halai and the return of Cory Jane and form of Ben Smith and Julian Savea have seen Guildford drop down the national selection order.
Twenty-four-year-old Guildford last played for the All Blacks against Ireland in Christchurch in June 2012. A year earlier he was part of the All Blacks world cup squad.