All Blacks scrumhalf Brad Weber confirms New Zealand exit after World Cup

All Blacks scrumhalf Brad Weber confirms New Zealand exit after World Cup

The Chiefs have announced that scrumhalf Brad Weber is set to depart the Hamilton-based franchise as he furthers his career in Europe from the end of the year.

French publication L'Equipe reported in January that the 18-Test All Black is joining Top 14 outfit Stade Francais when his contract with New Zealand Rugby expires after the World Cup.

Although Weber - at the request of his new club - has not confirmed exactly where he is going, he ended speculation whether he would be staying on in New Zealand after the global showpiece in France later this year.

"It is with a heavy heart that I confirm that this season will be my last at the Gallagher Chiefs, a team that has meant so much to me and my family over the past 10 years," he told the Chiefs˜ official website.

Weber has been a vital member of the Chiefs squad since making his debut for the club in Super Rugby in 2014 and he has also been an important leader for the team for the past three years as a co-captain alongside All Blacks skipper Sam Cane.

The 32-year-old has been in fine form for the table-topping Chiefs in Super Rugby Pacific in 2023 and is currently in the top eight for passes made in the competition, averaging 79.5 passes per 80 minutes.

Chiefs head coach Clayton McMillan paid tribute to Weber and admitted that losing his services would be a setback for the team.

"Brad has been an integral player and leader in the Gallagher Chiefs," he said. "It's never ideal when you lose players of his calibre, but it's much easier to accept when they have given everything to the jersey, which Brad has done in spades.

"I can't speak highly enough of him as a bloke. It's a fantastic opportunity and he will go at the end of the season with our full backing."

While confirming his move now, Weber is still completely focused on his job ahead with the Chiefs.

"I'm not done here just yet though; the goal is to win a championship this season, so I look forward to going out with a bang," said Weber.

"I would have loved to see out my career at the Gallagher Chiefs but I am also very excited to try something different; taking on a new challenge in Europe, playing and living abroad.

"I'd like to thank everyone involved at the Chiefs Rugby Club during my time here and all the Gallagher Chiefs fans who have supported me over the last decade. I've genuinely loved every moment."

Weber will co-captain the side on Saturday for their clash against the Hurricanes at FMG Stadium in Hamilton.