Crusaders star off to France

    2015-03-03 08:59

    Former All Black, and Crusaders and Canterbury utility back, Tom Taylor will sever his connection with New Zealand to take up a contract with Bayonne at the end of the year.

    According to the website, Taylor said it had been a tough decision.

    Taylor's chances of returning to the All Blacks may have been advanced in the anticipated changes that will be made after this year's Rugby World Cup.

    His contract is for three years, however, he has not ruled out a return to New Zealand.

    Taylor demonstrated his versatility on the international stage when making his All Blacks debut in 2013 in a Bledisloe Cup/Rugby Championship Test against Australia. With Dan Carter, Aaron Cruden and Beauden Barrett all on the injured list, Taylor impressed when stepping into the flyhalf role.

    He showed his ability on the break, and defensively, while also landing a conversion and four penalty goals in New Zealand's 27-16 win. He made two subsequent appearances for the All Blacks.

    In 41 games for the Crusaders he has scored 260 points while in 29 games for Canterbury he has posted 368 points.

    Taylor, the son of former All Blacks centre Warwick Taylor, said: "I have absolutely loved my time here at Canterbury and the Crusaders, especially being a Christchurch boy.

    "I've grown up with these teams and it's certainly been a tough decision to leave my home town, but this is an exciting opportunity for the next part of my rugby career.

    "I've been very lucky to have worked with some great players, coaches and management and would like to thank them for helping me become the player and person I am today," he said.

    Crusaders coach Todd Blackadder said he would be a loss for the Crusaders and rated him 'an enormous talent and a great rugby brain'.

    "His skills, versatility and attitude are greatly valued here and will be missed," he said.

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