Hamilton is happy to join Mauger at Welford Road

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The Independent Online

The former All Black wing Scott Hamilton says he is looking forward to linking up with his former Canterbury and Crusaders team-mate Aaron Mauger when he joins Leicester in November. The 28-year-old has confirmed that he will leave for Europe at the end of the current Air New Zealand Cup competition. He will join the Guinness Premiership side on a two-year deal.

"It's great to have Aaron over there," said Hamilton of Mauger, the former All Black centre who is now in his second season at Welford Road. "He's captain there now and has a big say in a club which has enjoyed some success so I'm looking forward to contributing to their cause once this season is over."

Hamilton, who can play on the wing or at full-back, played two Tests for New Zealand in 2006, against Argentina in Buenos Aires and against South Africa in Wellington.

He said: "Other highlights were winning three Super rugby titles, the Ranfurly Shield twice, and the NPC [the National Provincial Championship] in 2004. I probably wouldn't have had as much success if I'd been with another province. We're a close bunch here and we all live pretty close together in Christchurch so it's been great off the field too."

Canterbury's assistant coach, John Haggart, said the team and Canterbury rugby in general would miss Hamilton. "Scott has been such a reliable and consistent performer for Canterbury and the Crusaders over the years that it's inevitable he will leave a huge hole," he said.

Hamilton made his debut for Canterbury against Marlborough in 2002 and played 58 times in Super rugby for the Crusaders, scoring 21 tries, after making his debut against the Hurricanes in 2003. He was part of the side that won the 2005 Super 12 title and the Super 14 titles in 2006 and 2008.

Hamilton became a target for the Leicester head coach, Heyneke Meyer, after the Tigers' pursuit of the Fiji wing Rupeni Caucaunibuca hit difficulties. The former Agen player may still be offered a trial at Welford Road.