Crusaders loosie jets off to Japan
"He will seek a release and we will hope to sign him for 2019," Tasman CEO Tony Lewis said. "It is not a bolt from the blue. I can understand where Jordan is at and we respect that.
"We have known Jordan’s intentions and that of NZ Rugby and the Crusaders. They have decided he is not available for Tasman and asked for a release and when the paperwork comes through we will grant it,"
The 26-year-old loose forward will join the Mitsubishi Sagamihara Dynaboars at the conclusion of this year’s Super Rugby. Taufua recently inked a one-year extension with NZ Rugby and the Crusaders.
The deal allows Taufua to bolster his potential earnings, something that the Mitre 10 cannot match. With Jordan Taufua’s long-term commitment already proven, the flexibility is required to ensure that players of his calibre are happy to stay in the New Zealand system.
He will miss a large portion of the Crusaders pre-season, with the Japanese season potentially continuing through to the end of January.
Tasman will miss the experience and leadership of Taufua, who has 74 Super Rugby caps with the Crusaders, as they look to get over the hump having lost in consecutive finals to Canterbury.
Highlanders Luke Whitelock and Richard Buckman are also understood to be looking at similar arrangements.