Jimmy Cowan tipped to be at Blues next season

LOGAN SAVORY AND TOBY ROBSON
Last updated 05:00 07/08/2014
Jimmy Cowan
ROBYN EDIE/Fairfax NZ
BACK IN NZ: Former Stags halfback Jimmy Cowan has been linked to a move to join the Blues next season.

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Jimmy Cowan could be Blues bound.

The former Southland halfback, who will this year lineup for the Tasman Makos in the national provincial championship, is understood to be in talks with the Blues Super Rugby franchise.

Cowan played 101 games for Southland, over 100 games for the Highlanders and 51 tests for the All Blacks before heading to play for Gloucester in the United Kingdom in 2012.

The 32-year-old returned to New Zealand last month and has hinted he would like to make another push in his home country, rather than heading back overseas.

Cowan - who made his Tasman debut in a pre-season game against Otago in Dunedin on Saturday - said he would reassess where he is at at the end of the provincial season.

He confirmed he had had some contact with the Blues franchise but did not indicated how far those negotiations had extended.

The Blues will again have youngster Bryn Hall contracted as one of their halfbacks for the 2015 season and Cowan would add some experience to that position with Piri Weepu not returning to the Blues next season.

Weepu took to social media this week to say thank-you and goodbye to his fans.

The former All Blacks halfback posted his farewell last night to take up a contract with London Welsh.

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

"Sorry, just reliving the glory days, but we should probably move forward," he said.

"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 74-second YouTube video came after weeks of declining interviews with the mainstream media.

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

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

The Blues were keen to keep the playmaker for another Super Rugby season, but the London Welsh offer was too good to turn down.

- The Southland Times

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