All Black veteran heads to Japan

Fri, 22 Feb 2013 11:05
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I'm humbled and proud

Forward Adam Thomson has become the latest All Black to sign a lucrative contract to play in Japan, joining the Canon Eagles on a two-year deal.

Thomson played for Otago and the Highlanders last season and was selected in the All Blacks end-of-year tour of Europe, but did not renew his contract with the New Zealand Rugby Union (NZRU).

The 31-year-old will not be eligible for the All Blacks while playing in Japan and the move is likely to bring his 29-Test international career to an end.

"I'm excited to be embarking on the next stage of my career with the Canon Eagles in 2013 but jointly saddened to be closing a significant chapter of my life," he said in a statement posted on the All Blacks website.

"I'm humbled and proud to have had the opportunity to represent Otago, the Highlanders and the All Blacks throughout my career."

Fellow All Black Richard Kahui announced last week that he will join Japan's Toshiba Brave Lupus on a two-year contract after seeing out the current Super 15 season with the Waikato Chiefs.

While All Blacks coach Steve Hansen complained this week that Kahui had not given him a chance to change his mind before signing the deal, he indicated Thomson was heading to Japan with his blessing.

"On behalf of the All Blacks, we want to wish Adam well on the next step of his rugby career," Hansen said. "He is an outstanding, world-class loose forward who always gave his very best."