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Last Updated: Wednesday, 18 April 2007, 05:32 GMT 06:32 UK
Newcastle sign All Black Hayman
Carl Hayman
Hayman has won 35 caps for New Zealand
All Blacks prop Carl Hayman has signed for Premiership side Newcastle Falcons on a three-year deal.

The 27-year-old, widely regarded as the best tight-head in the world, will leave the Otago Highlanders after the World Cup.

"It's a big step, but at the same time it's a big opportunity" said Hayman.

"Hopefully, I'll be going to Newcastle as a member of an All Blacks team that wins the World Cup, which is my immediate goal."

Hayman is set to be one of several high-profile All Blacks to leave New Zealand after the World Cup.

Centre Aaron Mauger will join Leicester later this year, while scrum-half Byron Kelleher has agreed terms with French club Agen.

Chris Jack, Rico Gear, Luke McAlister and Anton Oliver are also poised for overseas moves following the World Cup.

This is a huge statement of intent by the club

Newcastle director of rugby John Fletcher

The All Blacks have a strict policy of only selecting players who play in New Zealand.

Falcons director of rugby John Fletcher said the signing demonstrated the level of ambition at the club.

"This is a huge statement of intent by the club," said Fletcher.

"We made a commitment to go out and sign the best tight-head in the world, and we've done it.

"It has been a lengthy process, but we felt Carl was worth the wait because he is the calibre of player who can take our team forward and help drive us on to where we aspire to be."

Hayman made his Test debut as a replacement for Greg Somerville against Samoa in 2001, becoming the 1,000th player to represent the All Blacks and has gone on to win 35 caps.

He is an integral part of the All Blacks' bid to win the World Cup for the first time since its inception in 1987.

"Going to Newcastle now doesn't mean I'm totally lost to New Zealand rugby," he said.

606: DEBATE
SM

"I'd like to think that I could come back and round out my career here (in New Zealand)."

But New Zealand Rugby Union deputy chief executive Steve Tew said the financial incentives available to All Blacks stars moving to UK and French teams were too good for the players to turn down.

"Carl is an outstanding All Black and we are very disappointed to lose him after the Rugby World Cup - his services will be sorely missed," said Tew.

"We put the very best possible offer in front of Carl and we are grateful that he gave it serious consideration. In the end, he had to consider a number of factors in making his decision.

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

SEE ALSO
Visser commits future to Falcons
04 Apr 07 |  Newcastle
Three more sign new Falcons deals
02 Apr 07 |  Newcastle
England trio sign Falcons deals
27 Mar 07 |  Newcastle


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