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All Blacks outcast George Bridge linked to Super Rugby Pacific switch

By Sam Smith
(Photo by Masanori Udagawa/Getty Images)

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Crusaders wing George Bridge has been linked to a Super Rugby Pacific transfer in the wake of his omission from the All Blacks squad.

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Bridge wasn’t included in Ian Foster’s 36-man squad to face Ireland in a three-test series this month following a Super Rugby Pacific campaign in which he started in just three matches for the Crusaders.

Instead, Crusaders boss Scott Robertson often opted to field imminent All Blacks debutant Leicester Fainga’anuku – who has replaced Bridge in the national squad – on the left wing in his side’s run to the inaugural Super Rugby Pacific title.

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Bridge’s downward spiral of form and selection consistency came after he endured a torrid Rugby Championship showing against the Springboks in Townsville last year, which was attributed by some as a key factor in his apparent loss of confidence.

Injuries have also taken its toll on the 27-year-old, who has been tipped by All Blacks great Stephen Donald to make a move to another Super Rugby Pacific franchise in a bid to revive his career.

Speaking on Kiwi radio station SENZ, Donald suggested that Bridge may be on the radar of the Chiefs, a move that he said would make sense for the 19-test international.

“Word on the street is Bridge might be leaving the Crusaders to very much get more game time,” Donald, the 2011 World Cup-winning first-five, said.

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“[The inside word is he will be moving] to the Chiefs… It would make sense, for me. It would be a good move for George Bridge.”

Donald, a former Chiefs playmaker, added that he hasn’t heard anything from the club about an attempt to land Bridge’s signature.

Whispers of Bridge’s potential move from the Crusaders to the Chiefs comes as he nears the end of his four-season deal with the Christchurch-based outfit, which expires this year.

It also coincides with the same week in which the Chiefs lost two outside backs, Jonah Lowe and Chase Tiatia, to the Highlanders and Western Force, respectively.

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Hot-stepping wing Etene Nanai-Seturo is also coming off-contract with the Chiefs, but the Hamilton-based franchise still have Shaun Stevenson on deck and will welcome back All Blacks star Damian McKenzie from Japan next season.

The Crusaders, meanwhile, have outside backs Will Jordan, Sevu Reece and Kini Naholo all coming off-contract this year, while Fainga’anuku’s deal with the side expires next season.

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