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All Blacks veteran announces retirement

Former All Blacks centre Conrad Smith has confirmed he will hang up his boots at the end of the season and take up a role as an advocate for players.

 
 

Smith, who has been playing for Pau in France, played 94 Tests for the All Blacks between 2004-2015, winning World Cups in 2011 and 2015, before leaving New Zealand and seeing out his career at Pau.

“I’m going to finish up this year, and I think I will spend a year or two either doing a little bit of work with International Rugby Players, but also within rugby itself and the coaching set-up, and see what I like,” Smith told Irish website The42.

“While I was playing, it was cool that I could do it [working with the players’ associations], and it was something a little bit different outside of rucks and the tactics of the game.”

Meanwhile,  Worcester have confirmed the signing of lock Michael Fatialofa on a two-year deal from 2016 Super Rugby champions the Hurricanes.

The 25-year-old becomes the Warriors’ ninth signing ahead of the 2018/19 campaign and will make the move to Sixways later this year, at the climax of the Mitre 10 Cup season with Auckland.

Fatialofa burst onto the Super Rugby scene at the age of 23 as he played 15 games in his debut season for the Wellington-based ‘Canes, helping them win the title.

Things started brightly for the big second-row in the 2017 competition too, as he ran in two tries in seven appearances before an unfortunate knee injury ended his season, as the ‘Canes went on to reach the Super Rugby semi-finals.

On the domestic stage, Fatialofa played 36 times for Southland in New Zealand’s Mitre 10 Cup between 2011 and 2014 before moving back home to Auckland in 2015, where he has since made 19 appearances.

The giant forward has also represented New Zealand Schools and played for the Barbarians in their 31-31 draw with South Africa at Wembley in 2016.

Auckland-born Fatialofa said: “I’m very excited about making the move to England and testing myself in the Northern Hemisphere competitions.

“The Hurricanes are an amazing club and I’m 100 per cent committed to giving everything I have to them this season, before arriving at Worcester and starting a new challenge.”

Warriors Director of Rugby Alan Solomons added: “Michael is an absolutely outstanding player and it’s massive for the club to bring him here to Sixways.

“He will no doubt have a huge impact on the team and we look forward to welcoming him to the club following the Mitre 10 Cup campaign later this year.”

 
 

 
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