Former All Blacks head coach Ian Foster and New Zealand rugby league star Joseph Manu will join Toyota Verblitz next season, the Japan Rugby League One club announced Tuesday.

Foster coached New Zealand at the 2023 Rugby World Cup and was previously an assistant under Steve Hansen, helping capture the Webb Ellis Cup at the 2015 tournament.

His appointment as Verblitz head coach reunites him with Hansen, who is the director of rugby at the Aichi Prefecture-based club.

New Zealand head coach Ian Foster attends a press conference near Paris on Oct. 12, 2023, two days ahead of a Rugby World Cup quarterfinal match against Ireland. (Kyodo) ==Kyodo

"I am very excited to be joining Toyota and am determined to make a difference," Foster said in a statement from the club.

"And of course I am looking forward to linking back up with Steve and working with him again."

The announcement of Manu's move to Japan has sent a shockwave through the Australia and New Zealand-based National Rugby League.

The 27-year-old has been one of the biggest stars of the 13-a-side game as a playmaker and outside back for the Sydney Roosters and the New Zealand national team.

"I look forward to returning to rugby union and competing in the prestigious Japan Rugby League One competition," Manu said in a statement.

"While I know the transition won't be easy, I will embrace the challenge. My family and I can't wait to immerse ourselves in the Japanese culture and explore the wonderful opportunities that await us."

Related coverage:

Rugby: All Blacks coach Robertson casts eye over Japan-based players

Rugby: Steelers storm home late to snatch 40-40 draw with Brave Lupus

Rugby: Wild Knights thump Spears to stay unbeaten atop League One