3 Mar 2015

Tom Taylor to play in France

7:52 am on 3 March 2015

The Crusaders and former All Blacks back Tom Taylor has announced he's signed with the French rugby club Bayonne, who he'll join later this year.

The Crusaders back Tom Taylor in action.

The Crusaders back Tom Taylor in action. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Taylor, who played 3 Tests for the All Blacks in 2013, has signed a 3-year-deal with the French Top 14 side.

The 25-year-old will join Bayonne on November 1st.

He's told the local fans that he's excited by the contract and is looking forward to being a part of the team and being in an amazing part of the world.

Taylor says it's been a tough decision to leave, but it is a great opportunity for him and he is looking forward to the next chapter of his career.

"I have absolutely loved my time here at Canterbury and the Crusaders, especially being a Christchurch boy."

"I've grown up with these teams and it's certainly been a tough decision to leave my hometown, but this is an exciting opportunity for the next part of my rugby career."

"I've been very lucky to have worked with some great players, coaches and management and would like to thank them for helping me become the player and person I am today."

"I would also like to thank everyone who has supported me over my playing career here."

The Crusaders Head Coach Todd Blackadder said Taylor's move would be a real loss to the Crusaders.

"Tom has an enormous amount of talent and a great rugby brain."

"His skills, versatility and attitude are greatly valued here and will be missed."

"We will be sad to see Tom go but respect and support his decision, and in the meantime we will enjoy having Tom around for the rest of this Super Rugby season and we will all be hoping to make it a special one for him."

Taylor says he is certainly not discounting returning to play in New Zealand again one day.

"At the moment all of my focus is on the season ahead."

"I am fully committed to the Crusaders for the rest of this season and will give my all for the team."

"I am also determined for a chance to be involved in this year's Rugby World Cup. If that doesn't happen then I will give my full commitment to the Canterbury team and enjoy playing another ITM Cup season," Taylor said.

Bayonne, who are currently 10th in the French first division standings, have also signed Englishman Mathew Tait for next season.

The former All Blacks wing Joe Rokocoko and Crusaders outside back Adam Whitelock also play for Bayonne.

We have regular online commentary of local and international sport.