Hurricanes and former All Black wing Cory Jane has signed a two year contract to play in Japan for Toshiba in the Super Rugby off season.
The contract will allow Jane to play in Japan after the Super Rugby season completes and also for him to return to the Hurricanes for the 2017 season.
Jane will head for Japan once his commitments to the Hurricanes are fulfilled and there he will join former All Blacks Richard Kahui and Liam Messam as well as Chiefs No 8 Michael Leitch at the Brave Lupus.
“I’m looking forward to playing in Japan and to experiencing a new culture and taking on a new challenge,” Jane said.
“It was important to me that I honoured the remaining year on my Hurricanes contract and of course that I was sure I was doing what was best for my family. To have achieved both of those things is great.”
The move means the 33-year-old will miss the Wellington Lions 2016 Mitre 10 Cup campaign and be unavailable again in 2017.
“That was one of the tough parts about making my decision, knowing that I might not get the chance to pull on the Wellington jersey again,” Jane said.
“Obviously it’s a team I really love, it’s where I started and I always take a lot of pride in representing my home province. Who knows, if my body is still willing I might still get the chance to play for Wellington again in the future.”
The 53-test All Black has acknowledged he’s unlikely to play for the All Blacks again, but said he was committed to continuing to play at a high level for the Hurricanes for the remainder of this season and in 2017.
“I still feel like I have a lot to offer in Super Rugby. I’ve really enjoyed this season and with my immediate future secure I can’t wait to get stuck into the rest of the season, starting with the Blues on Saturday night.”
Hurricanes chief executive Avan Lee had no doubt Jane’s final chapter with the club would be as exciting as ever.
“CJ’s hitting top form, he’s a great personality and we still love having him part of our club. We wish him all the best for his Japan adventure later this year”
Jane is one of only eight players to have played 100 matches for the Hurricanes and has scored 28 tries since his debut against the Reds in Brisbane in 2007.
Wellington Rugby Union chief executive Steve Rogers said he’d had no hesitation in releasing Jane from his 2016 Mitre 10 Cup commitments.
“Cory has been a loyal servant for the Lions over a long period of time and we wish him and his family all the best in Japan. He’s been a huge asset to Wellington rugby both on and off the field since he burst onto the scene for Upper Hutt in the late 1990s.
“Who knows we may see Cory in a Wellington jersey again before he’s finished, but if we don’t then he has certainly left a significant mark.”
Jane has played 65 times for the Wellington Lions and scored 25 tries since he made his provincial debut against Otago in 2003. He also represented Hawke’s Bay during the 2004 season.