Caleb Ralph heading for Japan



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Former All Black back Caleb Ralph is leaving New Zealand at the end of the Super 14 rugby competition to play in Japan, the New Zealand Rugby Union (NZRU) said Tuesday.

The 30-year-old Canterbury Crusaders centre and winger has signed a two-year contract with Japanese club Sanix, it said in a statement.

“I have been fortunate to play the game at all levels for a very long time, and be part of winning teams along the way,” Ralph said.

“It is with great sadness that I leave a country that has been good to me but at the same time I am excited about the new challenge in Japan.”

The rugby union’s general manager of professional rugby, Neil Sorensen, said Ralph had been an “incredibly loyal team man” during his long New Zealand career.

“Caleb has had a long and distinguished career in New Zealand and has made a significant contribution to the game from age grades through to the All Blacks,” Sorensen said.

Ralph played 14 Tests for New Zealand between 1998 and 2003, scoring eight tries.

In Super rugby, Ralph had short stints with the Waikato Chiefs and the Auckland Blues and has so far played 124 games for the Crusaders.

The news of Ralph’s departure comes a day after All Black and Blues back Nick Evans said he had signed a contract to play for English club Harlequins until mid-2011.

Sapa-AFP –

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