Reds sign All Black Braid - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Reds sign All Black Braid

05/10/2008 02:46:16 PM Comments (0)

All Blacks flanker Daniel Braid became the first overseas international signed by an Australian Super Rugby team under the new Foreign Player Policy.

He will prove an invaluable asset to Queensland next year, according to the Australian Rugby Union (ARU) High Performance General Manager David Nucifora.

Braid has been recruited by the Reds for next season's Super 14 following the sudden retirement of long-serving former Wallabies flanker David Croft.

A backrower who played against Australia in the Sydney Bledisloe Cup Test this year, Braid's signing by Queensland was only made possible by the relaxation of the ARU's Foreign Player Policy early last month.

"This case highlights just how important the decision was to allow the states to contract overseas players" Nucifora said.

"The quality of Daniel as a player and a person will be invaluable to the Reds, who needed to fix a problem in terms of depth and experience at openside flanker.

"Daniel is a world-class player who can help bring through the younger talent emerging in the backrow at Queensland.

"He was the New Zealand Super 14 Player of the Year in 2007 and has consistently been the back-up No.7 to Richie McCaw with the All Blacks."

The ARU Board last month accepted a management recommendation to lift the ban that previously prevented teams from contracting any player ineligible for Qantas Wallabies selection.

There were, however, conditions attached to the relaxation of the Foreign Player Policy.

Each of the four Australian provinces is permitted to sign only one marquee foreigner - an international who can never qualify for Australian selection because he has already represented another country at Test, A-team or Sevens level.

The provinces are also able to contract a second developing foreign player who has yet to represent another country and could qualify for the Wallabies after three years of consecutive residency.

Queensland Rugby Union (QRU) Performance Rugby Manager Ben Whitaker said signing a player of Braid's experience and ability was a real coup for the Reds.

"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."

Braid said: "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.

"It is also exciting to see the opportunities for professional rugby players growing as the game evolves globally."

Braid has 59 Super Rugby caps for the Blues.

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