Kurt Bayer

Kurt Bayer is an NZME. News Service reporter based in Christchurch.

Weepu farewells NZ rugby with special shout out to fans

All Blacks' halfback Piri Weepu has farewelled New Zealand rugby with a special shout out to his fans, as he looks to end his glittering career with English club London Welsh.

In a short video message to his fans, the 71-test World Cup winner displayed his usual cheekiness in bowing out.

The video, released via his Twitter feed, came with the message: "Just wanna say thank you to everyone.. Even if your (sic) not a fan, still love ya! Chee #OmataWillAlwaysBeHome."

It begins with Weepu with his back to the camera pretending to do a haka, before turning around with his signature smile, saying he was "just reliving the glory days".

He goes on to thank the New Zealand Rugby Union, the Wellington and Auckland rugby unions, as well as the Hurricanes and Blues Super Rugby franchises.

But it was his supporters that he really wanted to say goodbye to.

"I just really want to say thank you to all the fans out there. It's been awesome," the 30-year old said.

"It's been a pleasure to have your guys' support over the years, and moving forward as well.

"It's going to be a new challenge moving to London Welsh. I'm looking forward to it and no doubt you'll see my cheeky smile somewhere along the social media airwaves.

"I just wanted to thank you, and chur."

Last month, it was revealed that Weepu, one of the cult heroes of the All Blacks' 2011 World Cup winning side, had signed a two-year contract with London Welsh.

He will join the recently promoted club next month after 11 seasons of Super Rugby, eight of those at the Hurricanes before moving to the Blues.

Weepu, playing in his third and final season with the Blues, was diagnosed with a hole in his heart after suffering a stroke earlier in the season. He had surgery and returned to the field weeks later.

He made his All Blacks debut in 2004 against Wales in Cardiff before missing out on the 2007 Rugby World Cup squad.

He was a vital member of the 2011 winning squad however, taking over the kicking duties after Dan Carter and Colin Slade suffered tournament ending injuries.

Weepu kicked seven from eight in the quarter-final win over Argentina, followed by a further four penalties in the 20-6 semifinal win over Australia. His last test was against France in New Plymouth last season.

- APNZ

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