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Report: All Blacks outcast George Bridge set for overseas move

By Sam Smith
(Photo by Lorenzo Di Cola/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

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All Blacks outcast George Bridge is reportedly set to leave the Crusaders and move abroad following his omission from the New Zealand national squad.

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According to a report from Stuff, Bridge won’t return to the Crusaders for next season’s Super Rugby Pacific as he looks to cash in on his talents in Europe or Japan.

The 27-year-old was this month linked with a move to the Chiefs by former All Blacks first-five Stephen Donald, but this latest revelation indicates that Bridge’s time in New Zealand may soon come to an end.

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Bridge is expected to turn out for Canterbury in the upcoming NPC campaign, which could prove to be the 19-test international’s last involvement with New Zealand rugby.

Usurped by Crusaders teammate Leicester Fainga’anuku in the national pecking order of outside backs, Bridge has a serious fight on his hands to reclaim his place in the All Blacks squad.

A lack of starts at the Crusaders this year didn’t helped his cause, nor have a series of injuries and some underwhelming performances – most notably his horror show against the Springboks in Townsville during last year’s Rugby Championship.

Dropping numerous high balls, one of which led to a try to Springboks wing Sbu Nkosi, Bridge struggled to rekindle the form that first made him an All Black in 2018 and led to him becoming a starter for New Zealand at the World Cup the following year.

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Appendicitis, a pectoral rupture and knee surgery also plagued Bridge last year, leaving him to survey his options moving forward.

Should he leave New Zealand, Bridge would depart with one Rugby Championship title, three Bledisloe Cup defences, six Super Rugby crowns, two NPC titles, a North vs South victory and a World U20 Championship title to his name.

Scoring 37 tries in his Super Rugby career, Bridge would also leave the Crusaders as the team’s fourth-highest try-scorer of all-time.

Bridge isn’t the only wing set to leave the Crusaders, as Stuff reports that youngster Kini Naholo will also depart the Christchurch-based franchise after catching the eye of two rival teams in the North Island.

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Naholo, the younger brother of World Cup-winning former All Blacks star Waisake, was limited to just one appearance for the Crusaders this season in what was his first year back in Super Rugby since he was cut by the Chiefs in 2020.

Both players are two of three Crusaders wings off-contract this year, with the other being All Blacks star Sevu Reece, who is expected to remain onboard with Scott Robertson’s squad next season.

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