14 Apr 2015

Slade says decision to head overseas not easy

11:59 am on 14 April 2015

The All Black and Crusaders back Colin Slade says deciding to play overseas following the World Cup was not an easy decision.

Colin Slade kicks the winning conversion against Australia 2014.

The All Blacks' post-World Cup player exodus to France continues to gain momentum Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Slade is the latest All Black to join the post World Cup player exodus to France after signing with the Section Paloise Rugby Club.

The first-five has signed a three-year contract with French club Pau, who have just won promotion to France's premier rugby competition, the Top 14.

The 27-year-old is considered the fourth-choice number 10 for New Zealand behind Beauden Barrett, Dan Carter and Aaron Cruden.

Slade, who has played for the Crusaders for the past year after previously lining up for the Highlanders, joins a club which is coached by former All Blacks No.10 Simon Mannix.

Slade, who's played 17 Tests for the All Blacks, is believed to have clinched a salary of more than $700,000 a year.

He will link up with another All Black at Pau, with centre Conrad Smith signing a two-year contract to which will begin after this year's World Cup.

Slade says the decision to play overseas was one he didn't take lightly but he is now excited about the opportunity.

"I have given it a lot of thought and considered all my options, but I am now satisfied that moving to Pau after this year is the right decision for me at this point in my life," Slade said.

"Pau is a club with great ambition that is really keen to establish itself in France, and the chance to play in the Top 14 and potentially European Cup is an exciting new challenge for me."

Slade says he's grateful for his time in New Zealand and has been honoured to have played in some great teams, alongside many of the best players in the world.

"I am also grateful to NZ Rugby for their genuine efforts throughout the decision-making process. I want to make it clear that I still have goals to achieve this year and remain absolutely committed to giving 100 percent until I leave."

Crusaders coach Todd Blackadder says he is disappointed to be losing a player of Colin Slade's calibre but respects his decision to move on.

Slade will leave for Pau at the end of this year and is contracted up until the middle of 2018.

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