New Zealand Rugby
Braid joins Blues to chase Black jersey
April 29, 2010
Daniel Braid has starred for the Reds this season © Getty Images
Reds flanker Daniel Braid has decided to chase his dream of playing for the All Blacks in a home World Cup by joining the Blues for the first two seasons of the Super 15.
Braid has been a stand-out for the Reds in their surprise charge to the top four of this year's Super 14 competition but he will reluctantly leave his team-mates of two years in the hope of fulfilling the greater ambition of representing his country on home soil in 2011.
Braid, 29, has signed a two-year deal with the NZRU and Auckland Rugby Union, beginning on July 1. He'll be available for Auckland in this year's New Zealand provincial championship.
"I am very happy to be returning to Auckland and New Zealand during such an exciting time for New Zealand rugby," Braid said in a statement. "Having the World Cup in your home country and the opportunity to potentially push for a place to represent New Zealand is a once in a lifetime opportunity and this was a factor in my decision to return home.
"I have enjoyed my time at the Reds, and am hoping to leave on a high note as part of a team that has improved enormously this season."
Braid played the most recent of his four tests in 2008 against Australia, having made his test debut against Wales at age 21. He won the Kelvin R Tremain Memorial Trophy for player of the year in the 2007 national rugby awards.
NZRU chief executive Steve Tew welcomed Braid's return: "We're delighted that Daniel has chosen to come back and commit to New Zealand rugby. He has been an outstanding player both in his previous time in New Zealand and during this time with the Reds and his talent is widely recognised."
Tew told Radio Sport the NZRU was also close to securing the signature of fellow All Blacks loose forward Tanerau Latimer as it looks to boost the stocks of openside flankers behind captain Richie McCaw.
Auckland Rugby and Blues chief executive Andy Dalton also hailed Braid's decision.
"With more than 100 combined caps for both the union and the franchise," Dalton said. "Daniel was an experienced senior member of our teams and we are thrilled he is coming home."