New Zealand Rugby have partnered with Aviva Premiership club Harlequins, signing a co-operation agreement aimed to benefit both parties.

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The partnership will see New Zealand Rugby and Harlequins cooperate on several projects in relation to team and player resources as well as commercial leverage opportunities and team training.

“This is new territory for New Zealand Rugby and this unique relationship will open some useful connections in that part of the world,” New Zealand Rugby CEO Steve Tew said in a statement.

“With its strong ex-pat community, London is of key strategic importance to New Zealand Rugby, and when you factor in our shared relationship with adidas, this cooperation agreement is a very natural fit.

“This alignment will create significant opportunities for both sides, with players, coaches and staff able to learn from different environments with different people, challenges and cultures.”

Harlequins’ Chief Executive David Ellis commented: “I’m delighted to be able to announce Harlequins’ strategic partnership with New Zealand Rugby. The All Blacks are the benchmark of excellence for all teams, so to be able to align with them both on and off the pitch will be of significant benefit to the club.”

The Times have reported that the Harlequins will become a host club for All Blacks seeking a sabbatical in Europe, and the club will in turn send their “pathway” players and coaches to New Zealand to gain valuable experience.

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The New Zealand Herald reported early last month that New Zealand Rugby were looking at partnering with overseas clubs based in Europe and Japan in an effort to control overseas player drain.

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