All Blacks: Brad Weber the latest to depart New Zealand Rugby – report

Colin Newboult

New Zealand's Brad Weber offloads the ball during the Autumn International match at the Principality Stadium, Cardiff. Picture date: Saturday November 5, 2022.

All Blacks scrum-half Brad Weber will leave New Zealand Rugby after the end of the Rugby World Cup and sign for a Top 14 club, according to reports in France.

Newspaper L’Equipe are claiming that Weber has agreed a deal with Stade Francais and will join the Parisians following the denouement of the global tournament, if selected in the New Zealand squad.

The half-back has earned 18 caps for the national team since making his debut in 2015 and was a regular in 2021.

Back-up scrum-half

However, Weber made just one Test appearance in 2022, with a 13-minute cameo against Wales, his only international of the year, but he could well be a key part in 2023.

Aaron Smith remains the All Blacks’ clear number one, but that back-up role is up for grabs, with a number of players trying to stake their claim.

Finlay Christie was the preferred option in the Rugby Championship before TJ Perenara came back into the equation for the end-of-year Tests.

Folau Fakatava is another alternative looking ahead to the World Cup, but two serious knee injuries have hampered his progress.

Mainstay at the Chiefs

Weber will look to get back in the All Blacks reckoning by performing for the Chiefs in Super Rugby Pacific this year.

He has been a crucial cog in the Waikato outfit’s wheel over the years and will once again co-captain alongside Sam Cane in the upcoming competition.

However, this is likely to be his last season in New Zealand, with the 31-year-old set to take up a contract at Stade.

If confirmed, he will join fellow internationals Richie Mo’unga and Shannon Frizell in departing the country, while Smith, Rieko Ioane, Ardie Savea and Brodie Retallick have all been linked with moves abroad.

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