One more shot at the All Blacks and Jordan Taufua will be content to embark on a new quest.

Entering his seventh season with the Crusaders, the abrasive, combative, committed loose forward has made the difficult decision to join the Leicester Tigers for two-and-a-half years following the New Zealand provincial season.

Knocking on the door for several seasons, Taufua made the All Blacks squad last year though didn't take the field in the June series against France. He then broke his arm for a second time in the Crusaders' Super Rugby semifinal, robbing him of a likely place on the northern tour.

Like English convert Brad Shields, Taufua has been a victim of the Jerome Kaino era and the depth for the All Blacks at blindside.

Advertisement

Walking away from New Zealand at the end of this year will be difficult but he feels ready for a new challenge.

Taufua informed All Blacks coach Steve Hansen of his intentions, and hopes to remain in the World Cup frame with the blindside role largely up for grabs this season.

"It was a big thing for me. I gave Steve a call and let him know I was heading overseas. I'm 100 per cent focused this year – I won't be heading over until mid-November so my target is to give my all for the Crusaders and Tasman and if I get into that All Blacks environment again I'll definitely be taking that chance," Taufua tells the Herald.

"The dream is still there and my goal is still to be an All Black this year.

"Steve was really good about it - he understood from my point of view. He appreciated me giving him a call and was obviously disappointed I was going but he said he'd keep an eye on me for a big Super Rugby campaign."

Previously Charles Piutau and Steven Luatua missed All Blacks selection after making decisions to move abroad. When a tight selection call arises, Hansen's policy has usually been to pick those who are committed to New Zealand.

As always, there is no shortage of competition for the All Blacks' six jersey. Highlanders trio Liam Squire, Jackson Hemopo and Shannon Frizell and the Hurricanes' Vaea Fifita are all in the frame.

"That's out of my control," Taufua said. "Every time I go out there to do my job and play the best rugby and everything else will take care of itself. It's World Cup year and it's Steve's last year so I guess the best players will play.

Advertisement

"I'm really clear and content and if I don't make it it's not the end of the world."

Taufua has always been one to launch into everything. Breaking both forearms in the past two seasons made him consider future options but he also stresses this decision was motivated by the chance to taste something new, rather than boosting earnings.

"The financial side is cool but it was about the next step in my career and continuing to play good footy.

"I did my research. They've been in Heineken Cup finals, they've won championships, they know what it takes to be at the top level. The last couple of years they haven't had the best years but for me it was actually about going there and helping them get back to where they were.

"It was a reminder of the Crusaders of old with a strong history. We went through a slump and now we're going for our third title this year so it felt like a lot of similarities. I'm looking forward to going over there and seeing a different side to rugby."

The 27-year-old says he was struck by Leicester coach Geordan Murphy's passion and vision in the two calls they had, comparing him to Crusaders mentor Scott Robertson.

"He's worn the jersey before which is similar to Razor. Where he wants to take the club excited me. I can't wait to bring what I bring over there."

Taufua grew up in Otahuhu, moving to Christchurch on a Lincoln University scholarship to pursue rugby after seeing no pathway in Auckland. One of six siblings, he will continue to do what he can to support his family.

"It's always a big thing in a Pacific Island family to always give back. For me I always try help out my mum and dad and brothers and sisters where I can. They're doing okay but if there's anything that arises I always want to lend a hand."

Taufua trained for 16 weeks to make his return from his second broken arm in the Barbarians' victory over the Springboks at Twickenham last December, and has since made two preseason appearances for the Crusaders.

Other than making the All Blacks, signing off his New Zealand career with a third successive Super Rugby championship remains a major ambition.