Highlanders loose forward Jarrad Hoeata is in his final season of Super Rugby after signing a three-year contract with the Cardiff Blues.

Hoeata has been a member of the All Blacks, Maori All Blacks, All Blacks Sevens, three different Super Rugby teams and a mainstay of the Taranaki ITM Cup side since debuting in 2006.

"I am sad to leave NZ but at the same time I'm extremely proud of what I've achieved,'' he said. "I have really loved my time down south with the Highlanders and I'd like to thank Jamie Joseph for the massive opportunity he gave me to initially be a part of the Maori All Blacks in 2010 and then offering me an opportunity to head down and join the Highlanders.

"I have enjoyed every minute of my time down here and with the help of Jamie and the boys managed to reach my ultimate goal of becoming an All Black.''


Hoeata said he wanted to leave New Zealand while he was still in his prime and able to contribute for Cardiff.

"I have only heard positive things about the Blues' set-up and Cardiff itself. I am good mates with Paul Tito, who thoroughly enjoyed his time there, so I am really looking forward to the move North once I'm finished with the Highlanders.

"I'm excited about the challenge of playing rugby in Europe. I know it will be different to how we play the game here but I am really motivated by that challenge and of adapting to a new side, club and competitions''.

Cardiff have had a close link to Kiwi players over the years, with Xavier Rush, Michael Paterson and Jonah Lomu having pulled on the jersey in recent seasons.