Reds' Braid back in black - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Reds' Braid back in black

Jim Morton 29/04/2010 03:19:09 PM Comments (0)

It's not just the Wallabies set to benefit from the Queensland Reds' revival with flanker Daniel Braid reactivating his All Blacks career on the back of their Super 14 rise.

In the midst of his best Super rugby season since 2003, Braid on Thursday signed a two-year deal with the New Zealand Rugby Union which will see him return to Auckland in June.

The 29-year-old will be available to play for the All Blacks this season and possibly oppose a number of Reds teammates in the Tri-Nations.

"Braidy has been fantastic for us as a player and as a leader within the team, and we'll be sad to see him go," Reds coach Ewen McKenzie said.

"However we take pride in knowing that not only are we developing Wallabies, we might also get a reputation for re-developing All Blacks.

"I think it's terrific he's regenerated interest from the All Blacks in terms of his form."

Braid's marquee player deal with the Reds was restricted to two seasons under ARU import regulations.

But Queensland had still held slight hope of retaining him, exploring the option with the ARU of re-signing the ex-Blues back-rower as a mentor to their young open-sides Liam Gill and Ed Quirk.

"I don't think any rule these days is fixed in stone," McKenzie said. "The door wasn't closed."

But Braid, to have his third coming as NZ's back-up to Richie McCaw, said the chance to play in a home World Cup next year was too hard to ignore.

"To have a World Cup in your own country is a once in a lifetime opportunity to be able to push for a spot," he said. "To be able to play in that is a pretty big thing.

"At the start of the season I sat down and thought I wanted to make New Zealand want to pick me from Australia. The form of the team and what I've been doing has encouraged that."

Braid's own form is such that he's been named in the top 10 Australian-based performers in the Super 14 through the first 11 weeks of the competition.

Best on field against the Stormers last week, Braid was one of three Reds, including halves Will Genia and Quade Cooper, to have been voted as the leading players for the four Australian teams this season.

"You look at the youth of the side and the key guys and the influence of Quade and Will, if they stay together (Queensland) will be a force in the Super 14 for years to come," he said.

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