La Rochelle swoop for All Black Kerr-Barlow

2017-03-14 22:55
Tawera Kerr-Barlow (Gallo)

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 over Australia. 

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 playing overseas.

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 squad.

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 Barrett.

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.

Read more on:    all blacks  |  super rugby  |  rugby

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