Outstanding North Harbour loose forward Dillon Hunt will return home to Auckland to join the Blues in Super Rugby after four seasons with the Highlanders.

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The North Harbour captain has made two appearances for the All Blacks with his debut in Japan in 2018 and he was one of the standout performers in Super Rugby Aotearoa, topping the tackling count for the competition.

Hunt, who will play for the South Island in next week’s inter-island fixture, is excited to re-join with his North Harbour team for the Mitre-10 Cup and to link with the Blues.

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Ross Karl is joined by Josh Ioane of the Highlanders and James Parsons of the Blues as they touch on why it’s important to run for the bus after a meeting when you’re in the All Blacks.

“For me it is about coming home to play my rugby. My partner and family are both in Auckland which was a big motivator for me,” said Hunt. “I grew up watching the Blues and I have always been a big fan, so this is an exciting opportunity for me.”

Blues coach Leon MacDonald said Hunt will be an asset to a talent-laden loose forward group.

“Dillon is a quality performer with a high work-rate and it’s good to have him back home. Loose forwards operate in a high impact area of the game, so we need quality depth. As captain of North Harbour, he will also bring his leadership qualities to the group.”

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Blues CEO Andrew Hore said Hunt’s signing is another positive message for young players from the region looking to stake a career in the game.

“Dillon has come through the North Harbour and Blues system and got his chance at the Highlanders. We can’t always find a place for all our talent, but we are delighted that this opportunity has arisen for us to sign an excellent Blues product and he gets the opportunity to make home where his heart is.”

North Harbour CEO David Gibson said it is a great outcome for everyone.

“It really ticks all the boxes – Dillon and his family, Harbour, the Blues, and our approach to support those from our community. He is a genuine good bloke who brings so much on and off the field. We are really happy for him.”

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Hunt, a product of Westlake Boys College, joined the Highlanders as a replacement in 2017, playing 41 times and was an injury replacement for the All Blacks in 2017 playing against a French XV, and made his official debut against Japan in 2018.

– Blues Rugby

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