20 Aug 2015

Beaver's back

4:59 pm on 20 August 2015

Former All Black Stephen Donald has signed back on to play in the ITM Cup for Waikato, after finishing up at his Japanese club Mitsubishi.

Stephen Donald on Chiefs duty back in 2011

Stephen Donald - pictured on Chiefs duty back in 2011 Photo: Photosport

Donald, Waikato's fifth highest all-time points scorer, played 57 games for the province between 2004 and 2011.

"I have some great memories playing for Waikato and I can't wait to pull on the jersey again and represent the province I am very passionate about," he said.

"It is an exciting opportunity for me and I am looking forward to getting the ITM Cup campaign underway and running out onto Waikato Stadium once again."

Waikato director of rugby Leon Holden said the 31-year-old first five could play for the 'Mooloo men' as early as next weekend, and he has been training with the team for a couple of weeks.

Holden said Donald, who of course kicked the winning penalty at the last Rugby World Cup, would not play at Manawatu on Saturday afternoon, and he might get a run for the Waikato development team first.

This ITM Cup season will be the first time Donald has played in New Zealand since the 2011 Rugby World Cup final.

Holden said the man they call Beaver "is getting better everyday" after a break from rugby, and he had a chance at a run in the Chiefs' local derby in Bay of Plenty next Sunday.

He thought Donald would love another shot at Super Rugby for the Chiefs - though nothing has been confirmed as yet.

All Blacks kicker Stephen Donald kicks the winning penalty during the All Blacks v France IRB Rugby World Cup 2011 final at Eden Park, Auckland, New Zealand on Sunday, 23 October 2011. Photo: Dave Lintott / photosport.co.nz

Donald kicks the winning penalty in the Rugby World Cup final in 2011. Photo: Photosport