Super Rugby
Dan Bowden signs for Super Rugby's Blues
ESPN Staff
May 26, 2014
Dan Bowden enjoyed a successful career in England but will return for the Blues for the 2015 and 2016 Super Rugby seasons © Getty Images

Dan Bowden is returning to New Zealand after a four-year stint in the Aviva Premiership in England where he played for London Irish and Leicester Tigers.

Bowden, who represented New Zealand at schools level, signed a two-year deal with the Blues and New Zealand Rugby for the 2015 and 2016 seasons. Bowden, who was born in Auckland, said it was a dream to play for the Blues.

"I'm really excited to be returning home along with my four-month-old baby and wife," Bowden said. "I had opportunities to stay in the UK but coming back to be around my family and playing for the Blues is something I've always wanted to do. I've spent time playing with the Highlanders and Crusaders but playing for my hometown team has always been an ambition of mine and I'm hoping to finally fulfil that.

"It was the team I grew up supporting and wanting to play for, and I've taken the long way around to get to it. I was involved in the Blues wider training group in 2005 so it's been a long time coming, but I'm excited to join the Blues and get back to playing Super Rugby."

Bowden, 28, enjoyed a successful career in England that saw him receive the "Player's Player of the Year" award after his inaugural season at London Irish, where he shared the captaincy in 2010-2011. He then moved to Leicester Tigers, where he became a Premiership champion.

"I played 10 for London Irish and mostly 12 for Leicester so I'm comfortable at either," he said. "I'm sure the Blues will have their ideas - I'd like to play 10 but I'm happy to play wherever is best for the team. There are plenty of talented players in the Blues backline and hopefully I can offer some guidance and experience there."

With the current Blues side struggling at the bottom of the New Zealand conference, and with little experience in the fly-half position, Blues head coach Sir John Kirwan is happy to welcome Bowden back to Auckland.

"Dan has a great skill set and is really keen to come back and have another crack at Super Rugby in New Zealand so we're really excited to have him," Kirwan said. "He's really matured and developed playing in the UK. He was on the cusp of playing for England and he probably got injured at the wrong time, which has helped him make the decision to come back and join the Blues so we're looking forward to having his experience in the squad."

Bowden is currently in Auckland and will head to Japan before returning to join the Blues for pre-season training in January.

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