Red Braid still sees All Black future - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Red Braid still sees All Black future

By Jim Morton 16/10/2008 08:02:26 PM Comments (0)

Former All Black Daniel Braid, Australian rugby's first foreign marquee signing, hasn't given up hope of playing for New Zealand again.

Openside flanker Braid will play for Queensland in the 2009 Super 14 after the Reds swooped on the five-Test international's desire for an overseas playing stint.

Braid has a two-year deal with the Reds, including an option in his favour after one, which effectively ends his international career for the time being.

Like Australia, New Zealand's selection policy is to only pick home-based players for Test action.

It was only in July when Braid started in his last Test for the All Blacks, filling in at No.7 for injured skipper Richie McCaw.

But when McCaw returned, the 27-year-old Auckland NPC and Blues stalwart was on the outer and stayed there.

"It was a big call to leave the Blues and leave New Zealand," Braid said in Brisbane.

"But it had been a goal of me and my partner to move overseas and we'd been looking for a while to take up an overseas contract.

"The Queensland lifestyle and the package the Reds put up was a factor as well."

While the Blues have prepared for his absence by signing former Highlander Josh Blackie, a huge back-row chasm has grown in NZ rugby between McCaw and the next best openside flanker.

Braid, also the son of an All Black, didn't close the door shut on a return but NZ indicated would have to be patient.

"I'd want to play for the All Blacks again," he said.

"I think I've still got plenty more years left in me and after we've done an overseas trip I'd like to go back and play in New Zealand and play for the All Blacks again."

In the short-term, Braid knows he has a tough task to help a young Reds squad, boasting an average age of 22, rise off the bottom rungs of the ladder.

It's almost as difficult as filling the shoes of the retired David Croft as Queensland's standard bearer.

"When you played against the Reds he was always the guy you target and he put his body on the line every single game," Braid said of the fearless Croft.

"After the last game the Blues played the Reds his arm was in a sling, there was all ice there, and his face was bashed up and had stitches, that was the sort of guy he is."

Reds coach Phil Mooney was rapt to have lured an All Black west in the prime of his career, especially one with key leadership credentials.

"With a young group it was important we signed a player with those qualities," said Mooney.

"We're taking our program forward and it is a great endorsement to have an All Black come and play with us."

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