NZ Rugby World

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Powerful centre Tumua Manu has also left the Chiefs as the powerfully built centre is joining Pau in France. Manu joined the Chiefs in 2019 after a season with the Blues and anyone tackled by the 27-year-old will remember it. Highlander­s assistant coach

Mark Hammett will leave the club at the the end of Super Rugby Aotearoa. The former Hurricanes and Sunwolves head coach has been with the Highlander­s for four years and says the time is right for him to move on and find a new challenge. He says he’s not yet sure what that will be. Former Wallaby Kurtley Beale won’t be seen in Super Rugby again as he has left the Waratahs to join Racing 92 in Paris. The 31-year-old was granted an early release from his contract and with 91 caps behind him, will remain eligible for the Wallabies. Veteran All Blacks lock

Sam Whitelock [pictured above] has returned from Japan and immediatel­y made himself available to the Crusaders. The 31-year-old had intended to play club rugby until May and then take a break before being available for the July tests against Wales and Scotland.

Julian Savea has returned from France having parted company with Toulon and is looking to resume his career in New Zealand.

Neither Ben Smith nor Brodie Retallick have taken up the offer to join the Highlander­s and Chiefs respective­ly after their time offshore was cut short due to the Coronaviru­s. Smith said he would be interested in club rugby not Super Rugby while the Chiefs approached Retallick but he declined, saying his body needs the extended time away from the game.

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