Andrew Blowers heading back to NZ

STILL GOOD: Veteran New Zealand loose forward Andrew Blowers is still top of the pops up north with the Bristol club.
Fairfax Media
STILL GOOD: Veteran New Zealand loose forward Andrew Blowers is still top of the pops up north with the Bristol club.

Former All Black and Blues loose forward Andrew Blowers is cutting short his second stint in the UK to return to New Zealand for personal reasons.

Blowers, who is now with the Bristol club in England's Premiership, has announced he will be leaving on January 11 to head home, nearly six months before his deal expires.

Blowers has been released by the club on compassionate grounds after one of his children struggled to settle in the UK.

"The school intake back home is early February and we want to get the kids back into school in New Zealand," the 33-year-old told BBC Radio Bristol.

Blowers, who played 18 matches (11 tests) for the All Blacks, had five seasons in English rugby with Northampton before returning back to New Zealand for a brief stint as a Super 14 draft player for the Highlanders. He returned to the UK to join Bristol in February 2007.

He made 18 appearances in the 2006-07 season as Bristol secured their best Premiership finish (third) and reach the playoffs.

But the club has not found such success this season and Blowers has not played since the 27-0 defeat at Llanelli in October.

"I have really enjoyed the support from the fans. Bristol's supporter base is great. I have got to know a lot of them very closely," said Blowers.

"Everyone at Bristol wants the club to succeed. It's made playing a lot easier. You play hard for them.

"The fans know if the whole team plays hard for the jersey then whether we win or lose they will support us."

It's unlikely Blowers will look to continue his career back in New Zealand.

Rugbyheaven