Hurricanes chief executive Avan Lee has revealed the club’s feeling after the end-of-season departure of midfielder Matt Proctor was announced Saturday.
One-test All Black Proctor will join former Hurricanes coach Chris Boyd at Premiership club Northampton after the 2019 Super Rugby season.
“We’re disappointed,” Lee said in an interview with Stuff.
“I’ve been in touch with Matt myself and said that we’re really disappointed that you are going but we respect the decision and understand his reasons.
“As a rugby fan first and foremost someone like him, who has been in and around the All Blacks for a while, been a strong Super Rugby player, only just been capped, you could see it and say he’s just kicking on the door, but he’s got his own reasons.
“Clearly the financial offer is significant and a big part of it, but if he was an established All Black I don’t think he’d be doing the same thing.”
26-year-old Proctor made his lone test appearance for the All Blacks against Japan at the end of last year, where he scored a try. Lee shed light on how Proctor’s relatively late inclusion within the All Black side may have influenced his decision.
“From our perspective we can see that progression, but you could also argue he may have had more of an opportunity over the last three seasons within the All Blacks that might have changed his decision,” he said.
“He would have loved to have played more games for New Zealand and been a core All Black, but there’s a lot of talent around in that position.
“He could have signed on for one more year and seen what happens beyond the World Cup, but clearly he’s got an offer in front of him that’s he’s decided to accept.
“I’m not critical of Matt Proctor. I would have loved to have seen him stay longer at the Hurricanes and become a 50 or 60-cap All Black because we genuinely think he’s that good.”
Proctor’s Hurricanes teammate and fellow All Black Nehe Milner-Skudder is also set to leave the club after the 2019 season, with the electric 28-year-old linking with French club Toulon.
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