14 Jan 2018

Former ABs prop Hayman to play Brisbane Tens

2:00 pm on 14 January 2018

Former All Blacks prop Carl Hayman will come out of retirement to play for French Top 14 club Pau at the Brisbane Global Rugby Tens next month.

Carl Hayman played 45 tests for the All Blacks.

Carl Hayman played 45 tests for the All Blacks. Photo: Photosport

The veteran of 45 test matches has been revealed as the "mystery All Blacks legend" the club teased when they announced the rest of their squad on Friday.

Hayman played for the All Blacks for seven years, from 2001-2007, and was rated by many as the best tighthead prop in the world for much of that period.

He left New Zealand to take up a highly lucrative contract with English side the Newcastle Falcons, before joining glamour French outfit Toulon in 2010

The former Highlanders player retired in 2015 and took a year away from rugby before joining Pau as forwards coach under fellow New Zealander and head coach Simon Mannix.

Hayman will be one of eight former All Blacks in Pau's squad for the tournament, including Conrad Smith, Tom Taylor, Colin Slade, Frank Halai, Jamie MacKintosh and Benson Stanley.

Now 38, Hayman made a comeback mid-way through last year for French fifth division amateur club Bizanos.

"The boss asked me if I'd be keen to have a run and I thought 'why not'? It'll be nice to chuck the boots on and get out there and run around."

Mannix said he approached Hayman about playing when he learned Carlos Spencer had signed on as wildcard for the tournament for the Blues.

"He is in great form physically," Mannix said.

"He works hard in the gym, as he always did during his career. I suggested it to him when I saw Carlos Spencer's name on the list.

"I asked Carl if he wanted to have a gallop and he was very happy to. It's exciting.

"Carl was lost to the Southern Hemisphere in 2007. Ten years later he is back up against some young New Zealand fellas who would only know the name."

While Hayman is turning out "for the love of the game", there is little doubt the 1.94m, 120kg giant will add some serious punch to the Pau side.

There is always plenty of debate in European rugby circles about Northern hemisphere rugby versus Southern hemisphere rugby and he said many of those in the squad from the latter part of the world were keen to prove they woucld still foot it against Super Rugby teams.

"I am going to enjoy getting back out there, getting back into playing with players at that level.

"I've been putting the training in and keeping in reasonable nick as I know it is going to be pretty fast.

"I played in the Hong Kong Tens a year ago so I know that Tens is an exciting brand of rugby, definitely very fast.

The social element of the tournament was also a major attraction.

"Everyone is competitive and gets stuck into the games but there is also a side of rugby where you are catching up with old friends and making new friends," he said.

"That's the great thing about rugby. I was talking to [Highlanders coach] Aaron Mauger a couple of days ago and he said 'we'll have to catch up over there for a bit of yarn and a strum on the guitar'."

With the weather in France currently wet and cold, Hayman had one request for tournament organisers ahead of what will be a sizzling two days in Brisbane. "Bring lots of ice!"

The 2018 Brisbane Global Rugby Tens takes place on February 9 and 10 at Suncorp Stadium.


Age: 38

Place of birth: Opunake, New Zealand

Height: 1.94

Weight: 120kg

All Blacks: 45 tests

Highlanders: 81 matches

Newcastle: 64 matches

Toulon: 145 matches