Blues hooker Tom McCartney has signed a three year deal with Irish Pro12 side Connacht and will join his former Auckland and Blues coach Pat Lam in Galway at the conclusion of the ITM Cup.
28-year-old McCartney has been a consistent performer for the Blues since making his Super Rugby debut in 2008 against the Chiefs, going on to earn 64 caps for the franchise.
“I’ve loved being at the Blues, it’s been my life for the last seven years but your career doesn’t last forever and there are other things in my life I’d like to do,” McCartney said.
“I think now is a good time to reassess and start setting some new goals. A little bit of travel is something I’ve always wanted to do and it was a great opportunity that Pat (Lam) presented me with,” he said.
“I’ve had a long, hard think about it and for me and my partner we decided it was the right move for us at this time.”
However McCartney said he was fully focussed on the task at hand with the Blues before even contemplating his shift to the northern hemisphere.
“We haven’t won something at the Blues for a little while now and I said to JK at the start of the year that I’d do everything I can this year to play as well as I can for the team and to hopefully get us across the line and win the Super Rugby title and I definitely still feel that way,” he said.
“I’m not even thinking about moving to Ireland at the moment. Now the news is out I’ll put this behind me until the time comes to move over there. I’m fully committed to the Blues and Auckland in the ITM Cup when that comes around.”