Melbourne Rebels have confirmed the signing of former England international lock Geoff Parling.
The 33-year-old, who helped Exeter win the Aviva Premiership title with victory over Wasps at Twickenham 10 days ago, will join in time for the 2018 Super Rugby season.
It is thought that Parling, a member of the British and Irish Lions squad in Australia four years ago, will play in Japan on a short-team deal until he links up with the Rebels.
The Rebels’ future is currently uncertain with one Australian team seemingly set to be cut from next year’s Super Rugby competition – a reduction from 18 to 15 sides is planned – but it has not stopped them pressing ahead with recruitment.
Parling, who won 29 caps and was part of England’s 2015 World Cup squad, spent two seasons with Exeter after joining them from Leicester.
“Geoff’s signing is a strategic recruitment for the club as we look to evolve our squad and programme for 2018 and beyond,” Rebels chief executive Baden Stephenson told the franchise’s official website.
“Geoff boasts a wealth of international and domestic experience in successful rugby programmes, so he will contribute to the strong leadership at the club, along with his world-class line-out skills and hard-running qualities which will complement our squad.”
Parling, meanwhile, added: “After some really enjoyable years in the Premiership, I am excited about the opportunity to test myself in the southern hemisphere that Super Rugby brings.
“Hopefully, I can add value to the Rebels and help the team continue the great growth and profile of rugby in Victoria.”