Bird lands for Hurricanes

Dominic Bird of Racing 92 wins possession of a lineout ahead of Paul Boyle of Connacht. Bird, a former All Blacks lock, scored a try in a 26-22 victory. HARRY MURPHY/SPORTSFILE/VIA GETTY IMAGES

Former-All Black lock Dominic Bird is returning to New Zealand rugby to join the Hurricanes for next year’s Super Rugby competition.

The 30-year-old former Crusaders and Chiefs representative will lineup for the Wellington Lions for this year’s Bunnings Warehouse NPC before joining the Hurricanes set-up next year.

“I’m excited to be getting back into Super Rugby next year and returning to NZ with my family to live,” the two-test All Black said.

“We’ve enjoyed our time with Racing Metro in France, and I feel like I’ve been playing some of my best rugby up there, but now is the right time to return home. I’m looking forward to testing myself again in Super Rugby and adding huge value to the Hurricanes in 2022.”

Forging a successful start to his Super Rugby career at the Crusaders the second-rower then made the move north to the Chiefs before he signed with Racing Metro to play in the Top 14 in 2018.

Hurricanes head coach Jason Holland believes Bird’s arrival will bring invaluable experience to both the Hurricanes and Lions squads.

“We’re really looking forward to seeing Dom turn up and show his experience for the Wellington Lions before he comes into our group,” Holland said.

“Speaking with him, we know how much he wants to prove himself again in New Zealand rugby and you can’t beat the sort of experience he will bring to us. He’s a big man who has shown he can match it with some of the toughest forwards in a really challenging competition and we think he will bring real value to the club.”

Wellington Lions head coach Leo Crowley was also delighted to have the opportunity to bring a player with Bird’s experience join the squad.

“It’s probably under-stated just how important it is to bring guys with true international experience into an environment that contains a lot of guys who are eager to learn,” he said.

“We know how much Dom is looking forward to stepping back into New Zealand rugby and we will look to him to fill a vital leadership role amongst an exciting squad.”

Bird was recorded as the tallest All Black in history on his debut, standing at 2.06m just 1cm taller than former-All Black Mark Cooksley.

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