Rugby: Slade set to play for Pau next year

Colin Slade
Colin Slade
Colin Slade is believed to have turned his back on New Zealand rugby.

Sources have told the Otago Daily Times that Slade, the Crusaders first five eighth and former Highlander, has signed a contract to play for French club Pau, and will not play in New Zealand next year.

Slade (27) had been under the spotlight in the past few days with New Zealand Rugby wanting to secure his future while a big money offer has been presented by the ambitious French club.

It appears Slade has decided to take the money and run.

Few could blame him. The money waved under his nose by Pau - said to be about $700,000 a year - is well ahead of what he would have received if he had stayed in New Zealand.

New Zealand Rugby chief executive Steve Tew said last week securing Slade was a top priority.

Slade played well for the All Blacks last year and was rewarded with a bench spot in the side's final game of the season against Wales.

But realistically, he is still behind in the All Black pecking order, even with Dan Carter heading offshore. Both Aaron Cruden and Beauden Barrett would be considered before Slade. Of Slade's 17 tests, 11 of them have been as a replacement.

Slade can also play wing or fullback but is unlikely to be first choice for the national side in those positions.

Pau is coached by former All Black Simon Mannix, and has already signed All Black centre Conrad Smith for next season. Former Otago lock Daniel Ramsay plays for the club.


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