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All Black boost for struggling Sharks

Thu, 03 Jan 2013 08:41
Dan-braid-h_s Dan-braid-blues Dan-braid-auckland-trophy Dan-braid-auckland-charges
Unfortunately, Hendre has had to retire
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Struggling Sale Sharks have been boosted by the arrival of All Black Dan Braid, who have signed to play for the Premiership club until the end of the current season.

Having just lost the services of controversial coach John Mitchell, who prematurely returned to South Africa, the arrival of the six-times capped loose forward could not have come at a more opportune time for the team rooted at the bottom of the English Premiership standings.

Director of Rugby Steve Diamond said Braid joins the club at a critical stage of our season.

"He is a hard working flank who tackles well and reads the game well too," Diamond said.

"He arrived in the UK on New Years Day and came to Carrington on Wednesday to meet his new teammates.

"He is an important signing for us and I am sure he will fit in perfectly."

The Auckland and Blues loose forward said it is great to get the opportunity to play in Europe and play a different style of rugby and live a different lifestyle.

"I know Sam Tuitupou quite well," Braid said, adding: "We played school age rugby together back in New Zealand and with Auckland and the Blues, so he's given me a few tips.

"And I also spoke to Luke McAlister who used to play for Sale Sharks and he was really complimentary about the club.

"When I knew I was coming here I went on-line and had a look at the squad and some of the names here such as Sam and Danny Cipriani - and to see where Sale are in the table was a bit of a shock.

"But there are still quite a few games to go and with the win against Worcester, hopefully it's a case of onwards and upwards."

After announcing the arrival of Dan Braid, Steve Diamond sadly reported that Hendre Fourie has had to retire from the game.

"Unfortunately, Hendre has had to retire. We got the final confirmation last week after taking medical advice.

"As a club we have backed Hendre 100 percent in his battle to get fit but unfortunately, his shoulder has not recovered. His body has been battered so much that the shoulder won't recover."

The 31-year-old All Blacks flank, who has signed a six-month contract, has been capped six times by New Zealand and made 100 appearances for provincial side Auckland as well as boasting extensive Super Rugby experience with the Blues and Queensland Reds.

"I didn't pick up a Super contract for the new season in New Zealand so I was looking at different options and this opportunity came up with a contract at Sale through to the end of May and it really appealed to me," said Braid, who was voted New Zealand Player of the Year in 2007.

"I've always wanted to play in the Northern Hemisphere and in 2008 I signed to join the Scarlets, but I tore my Achilles which sort of scuppered the move.

"I've played all my rugby in the Super Rugby competition, I played my 100th game for Auckland in the NPC final against Canterbury in October, so I have done everything I've wanted to in New Zealand."

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