'Chur' - Weepu signs out with a wave and a smile

Weepu leaves with a wave and smile

TOBY ROBSON
Last updated 12:30 06/08/2014

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Piri Weepu has taken to social media to say thank you and good bye to his many fans.

The former All Blacks halfback posted his final farewell last night as he prepares to leave New Zealand to take up a contract with London Welsh.

Starting out with his back to the camera and performing the start of the All Blacks haka Ka Mate, which he led so many times during his 71-test career, Weepu turns around and smiles.

''Sorry, just reliving the glory days, but we should probably move forward. I just want to say thanks to all the fans over the years. It's been a pleasure to have your support over the years and moving forward as well.

''I'd like to thank the Wellington Lions, the Hurricanes, the Auckland Rugby Union, the Blues and also the NZRU for giving me the opportunity to be a part of the family and all the franchises I've been a part of...

''To all the fans out there you have been awesome. You've been so supportive of myself and any other players in this sport. I just want to thank you for them too.

''It's going to be a new challenge at London Welsh, I'm looking forward to it and no doubt you will probably see my cheeky smile on social media. I just want to say thank you and chur.''

The 30-year-old's one minute 14 second YouTube video came after weeks of declining interviews with the mainstream media.

After a difficult final year with the Blues which included a minor stroke and surgery to repair a hole in his heart, the father of two had decided some time ago to make a low-key departure.

Weepu's departure to England came to light in July with a two-year deal  reported to worth $300,000 to $400,000 a year.

The Blues had been keen to keep the play maker around for another season in Super Rugby, but the lucrative offer was too good to turn down.

A favourite son in Wainuiomata and Wellington, Weepu left the Hurricanes in 2011 following the ejection of close friend Ma'a Nonu by incoming coach Mark Hammett. After 84 matches in the Hurricanes colours, Weepu headed to

Auckland where he played through to the end of this year's Super Rugby competition.

Weepu was happy to talk last week about his local club side Wainui, who he ran water for over the past fortnight during the team's run to the Jubilee Cup final.

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However, he politely declined to talk about his pending departure, preferring to make his brief statement via twitter with the tag line: ''Just wanna say thank you to everyone. Even if your not a fan, still love ya! Chee #OmataWillAlwaysBeHome''.

By this afternoon his video had attracted 1,975 views on YouTube.

Weepu has been one of the more colourful and popular All Blacks, particularly during the 2011 World Cup campaign when the slogan ''Keep calm, Piri's on'' became a national fad.

- The Dominion Post

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