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Page last updated at 12:20 GMT, Tuesday, 16 December 2008

Blowers to head home in January

Andrew Blowers
Blowers has been at Bristol since February 2007

Bristol flanker Andrew Blowers will return to his native New Zealand in January for personal reasons.

He will leave on 11 January, five-and-a-half months before his deal expires.

One of Blowers' children has struggled to settle in the UK, and the club has agreed to his request for an early release from his deal.

"The school intake back home is early February and we want to get the kids back into school in New Zealand," the 33-year-old told BBC Radio Bristol.

Blowers, who won 18 caps for New Zealand, spent five seasons in English rugby with Northampton before joining Bristol in February 2007.

He made 18 appearances in the 2006-07 season when Bristol came third in the table to secure their best-ever finish in the Premiership and reach the play-offs.

But with Bristol struggling this season, Blowers has not played since the 27-0 defeat at Llanelli in October.

"I have really enjoyed the support from the fans. Bristol's supporter base is great. I have got to know a lot of them very closely," said Blowers, who is set to retire from the sport when he returns home.

"Everyone at Bristol wants the club to succeed. It's made playing a lot easier. You play hard for them.

"The fans know if the whole team plays hard for the jersey then whether we win or lose they will support us."

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