La Rochelle - All
Black halfback Tawera Kerr-Barlow announced a move to France's La
Rochelle on Wednesday, becoming the latest New Zealander to head overseas
after failing to cement a starting spot with the world champions.
The 26-year-old said he would join the Top 14 leaders on a three-year
deal after completing the Super Rugby season with the Chiefs.
Kerr-Barlow has played 25 Tests since his debut in 2012 but never
became a first-choice player and made 23 of his appearances from the
bench, including a brief cameo in the 2015 Rugby World Cup final win
He is currently behind Aaron Smith and TJ Perenara in the All Blacks'
pecking order at halfback and will not be considered by selectors while
His departure will still be a concern for All Blacks coach Steve
Hansen, with the loss of a proven performer affecting the depth of his
More All Blacks squad players and those on the fringe of selection
are now signing lucrative club contracts, rather than staying to fight
for international selection then heading overseas when their Test
careers are over.
Hansen expressed frustration last month at 15-Test forward Steven
Luatua's decision to join Bristol at the age of 25, while flyhalf Aaron
Cruden, 28, will join Montpellier after being eclipsed by Beauden
Australian-born Kerr-Barlow, who grew up in tropical Darwin, said
being an All Black had been a privilege but moving to France "was the
right decision for me".
"It's been an awesome adventure, a little Maori boy from Darwin got to live his dream," he said.