Not many rugby players put their personal relationship ahead of a potentially life-changing contract in England.

But Daniel Bowden did exactly that when he delayed signing a two-year contract with English premiership club London Irish until he knew his partner (Football Ferns captain) Hayley Moorwood was going with him.

"I would not go without her," Bowden says.

"I was going to stay put in New Zealand if she was unable to go over with me. It is great to have Hayley coming along with me. If your off-field situation and personal life are good then, generally, you will be playing pretty good rugby or soccer or whatever. That's it basically."

Bowden, 24, says the certainty involved with his contract with London Irish, beginning in July, meant they could make plans together, after the frustrations they have faced in the past three years with him playing in Northland, then in Dunedin with the Highlanders, back in Auckland last year, and now in Christchurch with the Crusaders.

"The contract was a big factor. In New Zealand from year-to-year I don't really know where I am going to be playing Super 14. I could end up in the draft again.

"But, with a two-year contract overseas, you know exactly where you will be, as it is not selection-based as such. That means for a certain period of time we know we will be together, which helps so much."

Moorwood had no intention of letting Bowden go without her, after grabbing what little time together they could as their sporting careers meant being apart more than they would have liked.

"It has been difficult as sometimes we could go weeks without seeing each other, so I think it is a big step for us to go away but it is something we have decided to do together," Moorwood says.

"It is good for us at the same time, as he gets to go over there and play really good rugby and I get to play really good football as well."

Moorwood, 26, is positive she will get picked up by one of the big clubs in the new women's soccer league set to kick off in March.

She has 51 caps for New Zealand since 2003 and three years' experience playing for Virginia Commonwealth in the prestigious US women's college leagues.

"I always thought England would be an interesting place to go to and play football, so when Dan picked up his contract it sort of made it for me," she says.

"I definitely want to get into the new Super League, preferably with Chelsea or Arsenal."

But no matter what club signs her, Moorwood is absolutely clear about where her sporting priorities lie.

"I am always going to be available to play for the Football Ferns. Captaining my country is a huge honour. It is something I was not expecting and I would not give it up for anything.

"I will just travel back and forth to play with them. We have World Cup qualifiers at the end of the year, then we head off to the Peace Queen Cup in Korea before we build up to the World Cup next year."

Bowden, not surprisingly, is a staunch supporter of women's soccer in New Zealand and wants to help to raise Moorwood's profile.

"My having a bigger profile than Hayley annoys me actually. It is a shame the national women's soccer team is not supported as well as it should be. I mean there are some talented athletes there who are just not getting the recognition they deserve."

Bowden and Moorwood laugh at the suggestion they could become the next glamour Kiwi sporting couple after Dan Carter and Honor Dillon.

For now they are happy to keep helping each other through the next vital stage in their fledgling professional careers.

"One of the things that make it work for us is we are really supportive of what the other one is doing," Bowden says.

"There are always stresses on us if we are not performing well but the good thing about being sportspeople is we can relate to each other. We support each other even though she doesn't really talk about rugby and I don't know much about soccer. It works well for us."