Super Rugby
Tom Donnelly joins Blues from Crusaders
October 17, 2013
All Blacks lock Tom Donnelly competes for a restart, New Zealand v South Africa, Tri-Nations, Eden Park, Auckland, New Zealand, July 10, 2010
Tom Donnelly won 15 Test caps for New Zealand © Getty Images

Tom Donnelly is heading north from the Crusaders to join the Blues for the 2014 Super Rugby season, the former All Blacks lock, 32, having signed a one-year contract.

"I'm really keen to continue playing rugby in New Zealand and when this opportunity came up to join the Blues I jumped at the chance," Donnelly said. "I've really been enjoying my time with Otago this season and imparting some of my knowledge and experience onto a young group of players, and I'm relishing the opportunity to do the same with a similarly young and exciting Blues team."

Blues head coach Sir John Kirwan said Donnelly would provide invaluable experience at the lineout after the departure of key locks Ali Williams and Anthony Boric at the end of last season.

"We've signed young Patrick Tuipulotu and have Liaki Moli and Culum Retallick as our other locks so we felt we needed a little more experience for this young side, and Tom will certainly bring that," Kirwan said. "He's had a year away in Japan and was part of the Crusaders last season but he's pretty keen for a new challenge and we're looking forward to having his expertise at the franchise."

Donnelly made his Super Rugby debut for the Highlanders in 2004, and he earned the first of his 15 All Blacks Test caps against Australia in 2009. Donnelly joined the Crusaders in 2012 and headed overseas to join the Mitsubishi Club in Japan later that year before returning for the Crusaders' 2013 Super Rugby campaign.

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd

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