Tom Taylor sets sights on France

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Lynn McConnell     03 Mar 2015     Getty Images

Taylor said it had been a tough decision.

Taylor's chances of returning to the All Blacks may have been advanced in the anticipated changes that will be made after this year's Rugby World Cup.

His contract is for three years, however, he has not ruled out a return to New Zealand.

Taylor demonstrated his versatility on the international stage when making his All Blacks debut in 2013 in a Bledisloe Cup/Rugby Championship Test against Australia. With Dan Carter, Aaron Cruden and Beauden Barrett all on the injured list, Taylor impressed when stepping into the first five-eighths role.

He showed his ability on the break, and defensively, while also landing a conversion and four penalty goals in New Zealand's 27-16 win. He made two subsequent appearances for the All Blacks.

In 41 games for the Crusaders he has scored 260 points while in 29 games for Canterbury he has posted 368 points.

Taylor, the son of former All Black second five-eighths Warwick Taylor, said: "I have absolutely loved my time here at Canterbury and the Crusaders, especially being a Christchurch boy.

"I've grown up with these teams and it's certainly been a tough decision to leave my home town, but this is an exciting opportunity for the next part of my rugby career.

"I've been very lucky to have worked with some great players, coaches and management and would like to thank them for helping me become the player and person I am today," he said.

Having made the announcement Taylor said his focus was still on the season ahead and would be giving his all for the Crusaders.

"I am also determined for a chance to be involved in this year's Rugby World Cup. If that doesn't happen then I will give my full commitment to the Canterbury team and enjoy playing another ITM Cup season," he said.

Crusaders coach Todd Blackadder said he would be a loss for the Crusaders and rated him 'an enormous talent and a great rugby brain'.

"His skills, versatility and attitude are greatly valued here and will be missed," he said.

The Crusaders will make the most of his presence for the remainder of this year's Investec Super Rugby season and would be looking to make it a special one for him, Blackadder said.

Canterbury coach Scott Robertson said Taylor would be missed for his all-round contribution.

"Tom is a fantastic footy player who is yet to reach his playing peak. He is also just an incredibly nice guy who is an absolute pleasure to have around," he said.

Crusaders and Canterbury Rugby chief executive Hamish Riach said it was sad for both the Crusaders and Canterbury to lose Taylor.

"Tom will be sorely missed by everyone here who has had the pleasure of working alongside him," he said.