All Blacks flanker Daniel Braid became the first overseas player signed by an Australian Super Rugby side under the new foreign player policy.
Braid signed for the Queensland Reds for next season’s Super 14 after the retirement of long-serving former Wallabies flanker David Croft at the end of this year’s campaign.
According to Australian Rugby Union high performance general manager David Nucifora, the former Auckland Blues man will prove to be an invaluable asset to the Reds next year.
“This case highlights just how important the decision was to allow the states to contract overseas players,” said Nucifora.
“The quality of Daniel as a player and a person will be invaluable to the Reds, who needed to fix a problem in terms of depth and experience at openside flanker. Daniel is a world-class player who can help bring through the younger talent emerging in the backrow at Queensland.
“He was the New Zealand Super 14 Player of the Year in 2007 and has consistently been the back-up No 7 to Richie McCaw with the All Blacks.”
The move comes after the ARU board last month accepted a management request to lift the ban that previously prevented teams from contracting any player ineligible for the Wallabies.
Braid represents the Reds’ one marquee player – an international who can never qualify for Australian selection. Sides are able to contract a second developing foreign player who has yet to represent his country and would qualify to play for Australia after three years of residency.