Piri Weepu is another big name to leave the Hurricanes as he will join the Blues next season.
Weepu follows All Blacks team-mates centre Ma’a Nonu, flyhalf Aaron Cruden and former skipper Andrew Hore to the Wellington exit. Wing Hosea Gear and fullback Cory Jane are also considering leaving the Hurricanes as head coach Mark Hammett has begun building a new-look squad for 2012.
Weepu’s exit comes as a big shock, however, as the player has expressed his willingness to stay. The 27-year-old was given a new contract deal earlier this month, but decided the move to Auckland was the best choice.
‘It was very tough. I had moments where I wanted to play for this province and this franchise. But, like everyone says, you’ve got to take care of No1 and I’m just looking after the best interests of myself and my future,’ Weepu said after the All Blacks 40-7 win over the Springboks last Saturday.
Ken Laban, close family friend and a Wellington Rugby Union board member, expressed his anger on Twitter and blamed Hammett.
‘I will be supporting the Blues in 2012 as will most, if not all, of Wainuiomata,’ Laban stated. ‘Piri is a boy who I have known all his life, long before the Canes came along and long before Hammett came to town. Our families are very close.’