5 Oct 2008

Flanker first All Black to sign for Australian Super 14 team

6:57 pm on 5 October 2008

All Blacks flanker Daniel Braid has become the first overseas international signed by an Australian Super Rugby team.

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

His signing on Sunday was only made possible by the relaxation of the Australian Rugby Union's Foreign Player Policy early last month, allowing two overseas players per team.

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

"This has been the toughest decision I've had to make in my rugby career," Braid said.

"However, I wanted to experience something new in rugby and to me this is the best of both worlds. I still get to play in this competition but in a different environment with some fresh new challenges."

The New Zealand Rugby Union have struggled to hold on to their top-tier internationals in recent years with 12 of last year's World Cup squad moving overseas.

NZRU general manager of professional rugby Neil Sorensen said it was disappointing to lose the 27-year-old Braid.

"He is a valued player and we put a lot of work into what we thought was an attractive and flexible package for Daniel but he has opted to head to Australia so we are disappointed to see him go," he said.