Colin Slade: ‘No one gives up the All Blacks easily’

This season, more All Blacks turned their backs on the famous jersey in favour of new challenges elsewhere. Back in February, I spoke to someone who had already made that decision.

RUGBYU-FRA-TOP 14-PAU-LA ROCHELLEFans and rugby media in New Zealand should respect Aaron Cruden and Steven Luatua’s decisions head overseas despite the lure of the All Blacks jersey, says a player who knows what it’s like to make that choice.

Colin Slade joined Dan Carter, Ma’a Nonu and Conrad Smith in heading to France after the 2015 World Cup. But while the veterans were seeing out their playing years with New Zealand’s good wishes after calling time on hugely successful international careers, Slade – then just 27 and already a double World Cup winner – was heading into self-imposed exile at newly-promoted Top 14 side Pau, in the shadow of the Pyrenees in the southwest of the country…

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