So'oialo to join Honda Heat
June 2, 2011
Rodney So'oialo has signed a two-year contract with Japanese outfit Honda Heat © Getty Images
Former All Blacks back-row Rodney So'oialo has revealed that he will quit his native New Zealand at the end of the current Super Rugby season to move to Japan.
The Hurricanes ace, who was capped 62 times by his country between 2002 and 2009, has put pen to paper on a two-year contract with the Honda Heat. So'oialo is looking forward to the challenge of adapting to life in a different country but admitted that it will be a wrench to leave his homeland.
"I want to thank the NZRU, Hurricanes and Wellington for their continuous support for me over such a long time," he said. "I really appreciate everything done for me. It has been a privilege and an honour for me to play for these teams and for my country."
New Zealand head coach Graham Henry was quick to pay tribute to a player who captained the Kiwis on seven occasions during a glittering international career.
"[He was] a special All Black and an exceptional man in the team," the former Wales boss said. "His total commitment and passion for the All Blacks jersey has been inspirational and a marvellous example to others.
"He has also been a key member of the leadership group, commanded enormous respect from his fellow players and was the obvious choice as stand-in captain when Richie McCaw was injured.
"Everyone in the All Blacks has the utmost respect for Rodders and we wish him and Marilyn and the family all the very best for their adventure to Japan and in their future endeavours."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
The rolling maul is becoming an increasingly potent attacking weapon. Conor O'Shea looks at the difficulties of stopping it
The news of James Horwill, Adam Ashley-Cooper and Dan Carter's respective transfers will open the floodgates, writes Tom Hamilton
Kiwi coaches can be found far and wide across the globe, and Murray Mexted believes the All Blacks benefit every bit as much as their rivals
Clermont, Toulon, player burnout, Sam Burgess and a farewell to Adams Park - Monday Maul looks back at the weekend's action