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Otago Highlanders stalwart Jamie Mackintosh signed a two-year contract with defending Super 15 champions the Waikato Chiefs on Tuesday, saying he needed a fresh challenge.
The loosehead prop has been largely overlooked in favour of Tony Woodcock at the under-performing Highlanders this season, making only five appearances for the South Island franchise.
"In order for me to grow as a player I feel the time is right for me to have a change," said Mackintosh, 28, who will move to the Chiefs at the end of the year.
Waikato coach Dave Rennie said he was pleased to have signed a proven leader in Mackintosh.
"Jamie is a crucial signing for us. He is a bloody good man and we are rapt to have him," he said.
Mackintosh has played 67 matches for the Highlanders and has one Test cap for the All Blacks.