All Black and Crusaders back Colin Slade has signed with the Section Paloise Rugby Club, departing following the World Cup. Slade said he had not found it easy to come to the decision to play overseas but he was now excited about the opportunity.

“This is certainly not a decision taken lightly. 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. My wife and I are also excited to have the opportunity to live in the South of France and travel around Europe in between rugby commitments.

“I am very grateful for my time here in New Zealand and have 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," Slade said. 

Crusaders Head Coach Todd Blackadder said he was disappointed to be losing a player of Colin Slade’s calibre: “Sladey is a hugely talented player who has been a key cog in this team in the last couple of seasons.  We brought him back to the Crusaders because we knew he had a lot of great rugby left in him, so clearly we are sad to be losing him at the end of this season.  However we respect his decision to move on and will send him off at the end of the year with our very best wishes.”

Crusaders CEO Hamish Riach said Slade had been involved in the Canterbury and Crusaders environments for a long time, and would be missed.

“Colin has brought a lot to this team and I’ve no doubt he’ll continue to make an important contribution for the rest of 2015. We will enjoy having him around for the rest of this season and then wish him and Emma all the best for their next adventure,” Mr Riach said.

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