Pau sign Colin Slade as fly-half opts to leave New Zealand
Last Updated: 13/04/15 5:09pm
Fly-half Colin Slade has become the latest New Zealand player to leave for France, having signed for newly-promoted Pau.
The 27-year-old had won 17 caps but was regarded as fourth in line for the All Blacks' No 10 shirt behind Beauden Barrett, Dan Carter and Aaron Cruden, although he can also play on the wing and at full-back.
Slade, who has played for the Crusaders for the past year after previously lining up for the Highlanders, links up with former All Blacks fly-half Simon Mannix, who is in charge at Pau, and international team-mate Conrad Smith, who will join Pau after the World Cup later this year.
"This recruitment once again underlines the club's ambition," said Mannix after Pau assured their promotion from the second division ProD2 with a 31-5 victory over Montauban at the weekend.
"Colin Slade is one of the top tens in the world who has reached his peak at 27 years of age. For me, Colin is a really, really good all-round player and a really nice young man off the pitch.
"I can tell you that he's arriving at Pau in a very good state of mind and is a player can only pull the team higher."
Slade's decision effectively means the end of his New Zealand aspirations, for now, and coach Steve Hansen admitted last week his loss would be a blow.
Hansen said of Slade: "He has got a really big future. We have got the Olympics next year, for a start.
"They are keen to take one of the five-eighths, probably Barrett I would say.
"He's (Slade) got plenty of Test matches left in him, it's just a matter of whether he wants to stay and do that."