Ulster Rugby today announced that they have signed Jared Payne, from the Auckland Blues on a three year contract.
A former New Zealand U21 international, Payne made his Super Rugby debut for the Waikato Chiefs in 2007 before spending two years with the Canterbury Crusaders. He joined the Auckland Blues earlier this year ahead of the start of the Super Rugby tournament and has captained his province, Northland, in the ITM Cup, New Zealand’s domestic championship, since 2009.
A versatile back, Payne has the ability to play at either win, centre or full-back
Ulster’s Director of Rugby, David Humphreys commented
“Jared has made a big impact in the Super Rugby competition so far this season, His ability to play a number of different positions in the back-line and the experience he has gained in leading Northland in the ITM Cup means that he will fit very well with the profile of our squad.”
Payne, who has started all six of the Blues’ Super Rugby matches so far this season says;
“I’d always thought that I’d like the chance to play abroad at some stage in my career. I didn’t think that chance would come up as early as it has but I’m delighted to have signed for Ulster”
"I’ve spoken with David (Humphreys) at length about the rugby set-up and have certainly been impressed by what they’re trying to achieve and how they’re going about it, but I’ve also talked to some friends from outside rugby circles about what life in Northern Ireland will be like and I’m really looking forward to arriving in Belfast”
“I’ve really enjoyed captaining Northland and feel that the extra responsibility is good for my personal game, I thrive on it.”
"I’m aware that Ulster have a fairly young group of backs coming through and I’m keen to be involved in helping with their development. I look forward to passing on a bit of knowledge to anyone who may benefit from it.”