Howlett leaves Auckland for Ireland



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All Blacks, Blues and Auckland star winger Doug Howlett will be heading overseas next year.

Howlett has signed a two-and-a half year contract with Munster and will head to Ireland in January.

A veteran of 104 Super 14 matches in New Zealand (99 for the Blues) across an impressive 10 year career, the 28 year-old has played his last game on New Zealand soil in the foreseeable future.

‘This was a very big decision to make. I have had an amazing rugby career in New Zealand and I am grateful to every person who has worked with me and contributed to that.

‘New Zealand will always be home and I consider next year at Munster as a fantastic opportunity to play for another great club and experience a different lifestyle with my family,’ says Howlett.

Blues’ coach David Nucifora says Howlett’s presence in the squad, on and off the field will be missed.

‘Doug is a natural leader and athlete. He has always looked out for his team-mates and lead from the front. He trains hard, plays hard and fully commits to those around him. He has had a superb year, working hard to return to the form which has gained him World Cup selection. Munster will be fortunate to have him.’

Auckland coach Pat Lam agrees. ‘Doug is an outstanding player and person. He has contributed so much to Auckland rugby from the time he first wore the blue and white jersey to the last. We will sorely miss him but are pleased for him and his family.’

Even though he is currently the top try scorer in Super rugby, Howlett is not one to seek accolades and attention, says Blues/Auckland CEO Andy Dalton.

‘His career has been truly impressive and his popularity with fans and players is second to none. He is a wonderful ambassador in the community for all the great things about this game and I thank him especially for his contribution to the Blues and Auckland rugby.’

Howlett will play for Munster from January 2008.

Career overview since 1997 ‘

104 Super 14 caps – 99 for the Blues (59 tries)

58 provincial caps (50 tries)

59 test caps (43 tries ‘ prior to Rugby World Cup)

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