9 Jul 2015

Bird flies north to the Chiefs

11:57 am on 9 July 2015

The former All Black lock Dominic Bird is leaving the Crusaders after signing with the Chiefs for the next two Super Rugby seasons.

All Black lock Dom Bird has signed with the Chiefs for two years

All Black lock Dominic Bird Photo: PHOTOSPORT

At 2.06m tall, the 24-year-old Bird is set to become the tallest member in the Chiefs squad and says he's moving north to chase his dream of an All Black return.

The Chiefs coach Dave Rennie believes the 120kg player will complement his forward pack well.

"Men of Dominic's dimensions and athleticism are a rarity in our game. That excites us," said Rennie.

"He has impressed us with his attitude, his enthusiasm and his determination to develop his game. He'll fit in well here."

The Waipukurau-born Bird said "I have enjoyed my time at the Crusaders and it is a big part of who I am, but it is time for a new chapter to further my career."

"I believe that the Chiefs will provide a great environment where my rugby will continue to develop and my playing opportunities will be enhanced."

Bird made his Super Rugby debut in 2013 for the Crusaders, having played 31 matches for them.

He made his All Blacks debut against Japan in 2013 and was also part of the 2011 New Zealand Under 20's IRB Junior World Championship winning team alongside Brodie Retallick and Sam Cane.

Bird joins Nepo Laulala as the Chiefs' latest recruits for the 2016 and 2017 Super Rugby seasons.

Meanwhile the Hurricanes have moved to cover for the likely loss of first five Beauden Barrett for part of next year's Super Rugby season by signing under-20 World Cup winner Otere Black to a two-year contract.

Barrett is expected to make himself available for Gordon Tietjen's All Blacks Sevens side next year in a bid to win gold at the 2016 Rio Games when rugby returns to the Olympics.

Get the new RNZ app

for ad-free news and current affairs

We have regular online commentary of local and international sport.