Reds

Reds sign Braid as first foreign player

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All Black flanker Daniel Braid will join the QR Reds as Queensland’s star import for the 2009 Super 14 season.


The 27-year old open side flanker is the first foreign international to be signed by an Australian S14 team as a ‘marquee” player since the ARU relaxed its restrictions on imported players.


The Auckland forward made his New Zealand debut in 2002 but has had limited opportunities since then in a position dominated by outstanding flanker and All Black captain Richie McCaw.

 

Braid was recalled to the side this year for the Sydney Test against the Wallabies when McCaw was ruled out with an ankle injury, but again made way for McCaw when he regained fitness.

QRU Performance Rugby Manager Ben Whitaker said signing a player of Braid’s experience and ability was a real coup for the Reds, who had been left short of a seasoned open side flanker for 2009 after David Croft’s unexpected retirement.


“We have some very talented flankers like Poutasi Luafutu recently come into the squad and others on the development pathway, but Daniel will give us the depth and experience we need in that position and help promote competition within the squad,” Whitaker said.


“Open side flankers with Daniel’s outstanding skill and professional experience simply aren’t currently available in Australia, so this allows us to fill the gap left by Crofty’s unexpected departure until our development program catches up.

 

“It will further improve our competitiveness and depth for 2009 and the younger guys will learn a lot from training and playing alongside someone of Daniel’s experience.”

Braid said as a professional player he was looking forward to the opportunity presented by the move across the Tasman.


‘I am excited about the opportunity of playing Super 14 out of Queensland, the timing, the place and the team all contributed to my decision,’ he said.


‘It is exciting to be the first to take advantage of the new regulations in Australia. It is also exciting to see the opportunities for professional rugby players growing as the game evolves globally.’


From 2009, each of the four Australian teams competing in the Investec Super 14 tournament are allowed to sign one “marquee” foreign player pending approval from the ARU, plus one “developing” foreign player who has yet to represent his native country at Test, Sevens or A-team level and would be eligible to play for Australia.


The Reds recently signed Otago Highlanders backrower Ezra Taylor on a two year deal, however Taylor is Australian-born and has yet to represent any country at international level.


Braid is a member of the rare father and son All Black club and has 59 Super Rugby caps for the Blues in a total of 78 appearances for his province.


He captained New Zealand Secondary Schools and played for New Zealand under-19s, Colts and under-21s, making his Test debut in 2002 against Wales before playing his first Super Rugby match (v Waratahs 2003).


New Zealand Rugby Union General Manager of Professional Rugby Neil Sorensen said it was disappointing to lose Braid.


‘He is a valued player and we put a lot of work into what we thought was an attractive and flexible package for Daniel but he has opted to head to Australia so we are disappointed to see him go,’ he said.


Auckland Rugby and Blues CEO Andy Dalton says Braid’s leadership, experience and rugby talent will be missed from both camps and thanked the highly experienced flanker for his outstanding contribution to Auckland Rugby and the Blues franchise.


‘Daniel is an inspirational player and leader both on and off the field. He will be a big loss to us but we understand his reasons for heading offshore and farewell him with sincere best wishes.’



Daniel Braid
Position: Flanker
Height/Weight: 1.83m / 102kg
Date & Place of Birth: 13/02/1981 , Tauranga, Auckand
Provincial Caps: 78
Provincial Points: 75 (15t)
Provincial Debut: 2001 vs Waikato
Super 14 Caps: 59
Super 14 Points: 30 (6t)
Super 14 Debut: 2003 v Waratahs
Test Caps: 4 (3 starts, 1 as replacement)
Test Points: 5
Test Debut: 2002 v Wales
Last Test: 2008 v Australia at Sydney


International teams:
New Zealand Under 19 in 2000
New Zealand Colts in 2001
New Zealand Under 21 in 2002
All Blacks in 2002-2003, 2008
New Zealand Maori in 2005, 2008
Junior All Blacks in 2007

 

Super14.com

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