All Blacks legend Doug Howlett will return to New Zealand.

In announcing the move, Howlett confirmed that after six years of working with Munster Rugby and the Commercial Advisory Board, that the decision is one of mixed emotions.

Howlett commented, "The privilege of playing for Munster Rugby, completing my MBA in UCC, and having the opportunity to run the province's commercial and marketing programmes under the guidance of Garrett Fitzgerald, and the commercial board's Niall FitzGerald and Patrick Coveney, have all been incredible experiences.

"It has been an extraordinary 11 years living in Ireland and I will always treasure my time in this special and unique club, and in Irish sport, academia and business."

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On the field, the all-time leading try scorer for the All Blacks was involved in professional rugby for 17 years, during which time he played for Super Rugby sides the Highlanders, the Hurricanes and the Blues before joining Munster Rugby in January 2008.

He helped the province to Heineken Cup success that year and two Celtic League trophies in the following three years. He made 114 appearances in red over five and a half seasons. A natural leader in the Munster environment he was appointed captain for the 2012-13 season.

Doug Howlett surges forward to score a try during Match Two of the Rugby World Cup 2007 between New Zealand and Italy. Photo / Getty
Doug Howlett surges forward to score a try during Match Two of the Rugby World Cup 2007 between New Zealand and Italy. Photo / Getty

Munster Rugby acting CEO Philip Quinn said: "With Doug excelling in a senior management role we were always informed of his future plans to return to New Zealand. He has been a great colleague and addition to the organisation, overseeing our most successful commercial year of the past decade.

"I would like to thank Doug, and wish him and his family, all the best as they return to New Zealand."

Munster Rugby commercial advisory board chairman Patrick Coveney added: "Doug showed the same level of professionalism, dedication, commitment and drive in the Board room as he always did on the pitch. We will miss him but are hugely appreciative for Doug's contribution to the strategic development of Munster Rugby which will continue to benefit the organisation in the years ahead."

This article first appeared on RugbyPass.com and is republished with permission