Thu, Apr 19, 2007 - Page 19 News List

All Black Hayman to join Newcastle after World Cup

AFP , WELLINGTON

All Black prop Carl Hayman is joining the All Black exodus to Europe after the World Cup to join the Newcastle Falcons in England.

The 27-year-old -- hailed by All Black coach Graham Henry as the best tighthead prop in the world -- is one of at least six All Blacks expected to be lured by the big money offers in Britain and France.

Hayman joins inside center Aaron Mauger and halfback Byron Kelleher in confirmed moves to Europe.

Lock Chris Jack, winger Rico Gear, veteran hooker Anton Oliver and utility back Luke McAlister are also reportedly poised to head north after the World Cup, hosted by France, ends in October.

Players have to be resident in New Zealand to qualify for the All Blacks and will be unavailable while playing overseas.

"It's a big step for me to take," Hayman said. "But at the same time it's a big opportunity. Hopefully I will be going to Newcastle as a member of an All Black team that wins the World Cup, which is my immediate goal."

However, he added he would like to return to New Zealand to finish his career.

Henry said Hayman was an "outstanding team man" whose decision was not influenced only by financial considerations.

"I think Carl would like to get out of the international spotlight for a while and sees this move as the best way to extend his time in the game," Henry said.

New Zealand Rugby Union deputy chief executive Steve Tew acknowledged the money on offer to players in Europe was making it difficult to retain players in New Zealand.

"We put the very best possible offer in front of Carl and we are grateful that he gave it serious consideration," Tew said.

"The incredible amounts of money on offer in the UK and France are making it increasingly difficult for the New Zealand Rugby Union to compete on straight dollar terms despite tremendous commercial support from our partners."

Hayman has played 68 games for Otago in the domestic provincial championship, 78 for the Highlanders Super 14 team and 35 Tests for the All Blacks.

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