The 29-year-old 6ft 6in Auckland native, who turns 30 in April, is the latest New Zealand-based player to announce a move to the northern hemisphere.
All Blacks legend Dan Carter (Racing Métro), Ma’a Nonu (Toulon), Rey Lee-Lo (Cardiff Blues), Luke Braid (Bordeaux) have all confirmed they will play their club rugby in Europe from the start of the 2015/16 season.
The experience he has gained being part of a successful All Blacks squad will be a key element in establishing Gloucester as one of the dominant forward packs in England.
Thrush, who has won 11 caps for the All Blacks since making his debut in 2013, played against the USA and Scotland in November, and last season’s Hurricanes captain is expected to be a part of Steve Hansen’s squad as New Zealand look to retain their Rugby World Cup title in England later this year.
Gloucester fans have been used to seeing former All Blacks grace Kingsholm, most recently scrum-half Jimmy Cowan, who returned to New Zealand last summer after two seasons with the club.
Former All Blacks lock Ian Jones joined the club for two seasons in 1999, while outside-halves Simon Mannix (1998-01) and Carlos Spencer (2009-10), and prop Greg Somerville (2008-10) also had spells in Gloucester.
Director of rugby David Humphreys believes that Thrush’s arrival at Kingsholm is a signal of intent as they look to become a major force in European rugby.
“Signing a player of Jeremy’s ability further highlights Gloucester’s ambition to compete with the best clubs in Europe,” Humphreys said.
“He has been a stand out performer in Super XV rugby over a number of seasons, and the experience he has gained being part of a successful All Blacks squad will be a key element in establishing Gloucester as one of the dominant forward packs in England.
“His recent man of the match performance against Scotland showed what Jeremy will bring to Gloucester in terms of his rugby ability, but he will also add huge value to the squad, both on and off the field, through his leadership abilities.
“As we continue to build our squad for the 2015/16 season, our initial focus was the retention of key players who were out of contract.
“This has now been done and, with Jeremy’s announcement this morning, we will continue to add strength in depth to our squad over the next few weeks.”
Gloucester recruited heavily last summer, with former All Blacks tighthead prop John Afoa joining from Ulster and Wales hooker Richard Hibbard moving to the West Country from the Ospreys.
More recently, the Cherry and Whites announced that flanker Matt Kvesic had agreed a new two-year deal with England number eight Ben Morgan had also committed his future to the club, while versatile back Tom Marshall, another Aucklander, is set to join from the Chiefs at the end of the 2015 Super Rugby season.
“The addition of a top-quality All Black like Jeremy to our squad demonstrates our determination to keep building towards having a squad capable of consistently challenging for honours going forward,” Gloucester CEO Stephen Vaughan added.
“We began a rebuilding process this season by introducing a completely new coaching set up and a host of new players and we see this exciting announcement as further reinforcement of our total commitment to investing in the playing squad.”
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