Former All Black dropped from Blues now considering offer from English club.
Former All Black Daniel Braid has missed out on a Super Rugby contract and will now step up his efforts in looking for an overseas club.
The Blues flanker, 31, who played six tests over eight years, had hoped to pick something up at the last minute after being told by Sir John Kirwan that his services were no longer required, but it is understood that the best offer he received was a place in the Auckland franchise's wider training group.
That is a big fall in both status and income for someone who has played Super Rugby for nine years - seven at the Blues and two in Brisbane for the Reds. After playing 80 games for the Blues, his experience at a franchise with a new coach would have been extremely valuable.
Braid is well liked by his teammates and he is often considered a "fourth coach" but it's understood that his strong opinions did not go down well among the Blues hierarchy at times.
It is understood that he is considering an offer from an English club.
Coaches from the five New Zealand franchises signed off their squads yesterday and they will be announced early today.
It is a sad way for Braid's New Zealand career to end and it has probably been hastened by the many injuries he has suffered in what is a high-impact position.
This year he has battled a groin problem but returned to captain Auckland in the ITM Cup and brought up his 100th match in the team's final defeat to Canterbury.
Highlanders' coach Jamie Joseph is set to be the man who will be most pleased with the additions to his squad. He will welcome Blues' All Blacks Tony Woodcock and Ma'a Nonu, as well as former All Black Brad Thorn, to Dunedin.
Another interesting signing is Otago's 1.66m Japanese halfback Fumiaki Tanaka.
One big loss for Joseph, however, is All Blacks loose forward Adam Thomson. It is understood that he hasn't re-signed with the New Zealand Rugby Union and won't play Super Rugby next year.
The Crusaders are the franchise likely to lose the most talent after the Blues, a worry for coach Todd Blackadder as he seeks a first title in charge.
Richie McCaw's sabbatical rules him out of the majority of the 2013 season, with fellow loose forward Brendon O'Connor making the move to Auckland.
As a result, Blackadder will name Canterbury loose forward Jordan Taufua, who played most of the ITM Cup with Tasman, and Counties lock/flanker Jimmy Tupou.
- APNZBy Patrick McKendry Email Patrick