World Cup hero Donald heading for Japan

DUNCAN JOHNSTONE
Last updated 08:24 02/04/2013
Stephen Donald
Getty Images
WORLD CUP HERO: Stephen Donald has been playing his club rugby with Bath in England since his heroics at Eden Park in 2011.

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All Blacks World Cup hero Stephen Donald is leaving the English rugby scene for Japan.

Premiership side Bath have confirmed that Donald, nicknamed the Beaver, will finish up at the end of the current season to join Japanese team Mitsubishi Dynaboars.

Donald famously got a place on the All Black bench for the 2011 World Cup final after a bizarre string of injuries hit the team's first-five ranks. He was called in off a whitebait trip to eventually come on and slot the crucial penalty kick to beat France 8-7 in the final.

He then headed off to join Bath but has had enough.

"I've had a great time with Bath, but feel it is time for a new challenge in a new league," said Donald.

"I'd like to thank everyone at the club and all the Bath supporters for all the support during my time here, and I'm really looking forward to doing all I can to help us end this season on a high."

Bath head coach, Gary Gold wished Donald "the best of luck in Japan next season."

"Steve is a good footballer and is a great character to have around. He has brought a lot of experience to the squad in the last couple of years," Gold said.

The 29-year-old has played 31 games for Bath, scoring over 150 points.

A former Waikato and Chiefs stalwart, he played 23 times for the All Blacks before heading offshore.

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