Connacht have signed New Zealand-born lock Craig Clarke from Waikato Chiefs.

The 29-year-old has signed a three year deal to move to Ireland from the Super XV.

The second row, who has previously been called up to the All Blacks training squad, was captain of the Waikato Chiefs as they won the Super XV title last season.

Clarke initially made his mark with Canterbury and the Crusaders before moving to Taranaki in 2007. He played a single season with the Hurricanes before joining the Chiefs.

Clarke represented the Junior All Blacks in their 2009 IRB Pacific Nations Cup campaign, his debut coming against Samoa. He then started against Japan where he scored a try for the side.

Connacht Rugby CEO Tom Sears expressed his delight at the signing, describing it as a major coup.

"This is something we have been working towards for some time now and the fact a player of Craig’s calibre has chosen to commit to Connacht is a clear sign of the progress we have made and our intent going forward.

"We have no doubt that he will be a major influence for Connacht in the seasons to come ...After leading the Chiefs to the Super XV title last season Craig certainly wasn’t short of options – he has chosen Connacht because he wants to be a part of what is happening here.