Former All Black Tanerau Latimer will play for the Bay of Plenty Steamers in the upcoming Mitre 10 Cup competition.

Latimer recently returned from France where he was playing for Bayonne.

Latimer played five tests for the All Blacks, debuting against France in Dunedin in 2009.

He played 108 matches for the Chiefs and 79 for the Bay of Plenty Steamers after debuting as a teenager in 2004.

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He was selected for the All Black Sevens team at 17 while still at Tauranga Boys' College and won gold at the 2006 Commonwealth Games in Melbourne.

The 32-year-old will bring a wealth of experience and knowledge to this year's Mitre 10 Cup squad and said returning home was an easy decision for him and his young family.

"I think home is always a big pulling force here. We have been overseas for four years and we weren't looking to stay too much longer.

"We came back in the off season and watching our boys, they loved it that much that they didn't want to go back, so that made the decision really," Latimer said.

Latimer said he embraced the familiar training regime and was loving it.

"I have been training for six weeks now; I have loved it and enjoyed it. It has gone back to where it all started. Up at 5am to come in for a gym session, then off to work and back again to training in the evening.

"It has been a great experience and it has been very enjoyable and looking forward to the season ahead."

Bay of Plenty Rugby Union chief executive Mike Rogers said Latimer brought a huge amount of experience and professionalism back into the environment.

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"Based on our conversations I know he is hugely motivated about helping us continue to grow our environment and our young players especially are going to benefit from having Lats around."

Bay of Plenty Rugby Union's director of rugby and Steamers head coach Clayton McMillan said it was fantastic to bring a player of Latimer's stature back to Bay of Plenty.

"With the player age becoming younger and younger across all levels of the game, players with proven leadership and experience become a valued commodity.

"I have no doubt Tanerau will add considerable value to the team through his own performance, driving high standards both on and off the field, and helping us develop good young men."

Tanerau Latimer playing history:

Bay of Plenty Steamers (2004 - 2013) Caps: 79

International Representative Rugby:
All Blacks (2009) Caps: 5 Debut: June 13, v France, Forsyth Barr Stadium, Dunedin
All Black Sevens (2004 – 2006), Commonwealth Games Gold, Melbourne (2006)
Maori All Blacks (2006 – 2008, 2012), Captain 2012

Super Rugby:
Crusaders (2006) Caps: 6
Chiefs (2007 – 2014) Caps: 108
Blues (2016) Caps: 5

International Rugby:
Japan Top League: Toshiba (2014 – 2016)
France: Bayonne (2016 – 2017)