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NZRU & Canterbury Salute Somerville

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

26 June 2008 - The New Zealand Rugby Union thanked prop Greg Somerville for a dozen years of service today as the veteran confirmed a move to England. The 30-year-old will join Gloucester after his 2008 All Blacks duties end.

"Greg has been representing New Zealand rugby since 1996 when he played for the Under 19s," said NZRU CEO Steve Tew, "and we'd like to formally thank him for his service. We'll really miss him both on and off the field. He's been a mainstay of Canterbury, Crusaders and All Blacks rugby. We wish 'Yoda' , Renee and his young children all the very best.

"Greg adapted to professional rugby as well as any player, yet never lost the sense of enjoyment of playing the game for the game's sake and making long standing friendships. He's been a very loyal contributor and made a real difference in every team he has played."

Somerville has amassed 59 Test appearances since his debut against Tonga in 2000 and is now the most-capped prop in All Blacks history. The Wairoa-born Somerville played in 115 Super rugby matches for the Crusaders and also represented New Zealand U 21 and New Zealand 'A' before earning All Blacks selection. Canterbury coach Rob Penney saluted Somerville on behalf of the province and the Crusaders' franchise: "Every once in a while, a player turns up with all the attributes required to be a top professional; selfless, hard working, athletic, mentally and physically tough, skilful, passionate and possessing an unrelenting desire to win. We've been fortunate to have such a player in Greg Somerville. 'Yoda' possesses all the qualities we respect and want in our players. His contribution to rugby at all levels has been immense, but above all, he's a good bloke." All Blacks forward coach Steve Hansen added: "Greg's done it all in New Zealand rugby. He's done it quietly but done it really well. We'll miss him as a player, a leader and a mate." Somerville's contract with Gloucester runs until the end of the Northern Hemisphere season in 2011.

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