George Bridge signs with Montpellier

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Crusaders coach Scott Robertson said Gisborne-born Bridge, 27, would be missed.


"George is a man and player who epitomises what it is to be a Crusader. He's a hard worker, he's tough and he's a winner. Bridgey is such a good honest man, we can all call him a great mate," he said.


Injuries at the wrong time restricted his All Blacks career and came as other players emerged at Test level.


He came to the All Blacks through the Lindisfarne College and the Crusaders Academy system. Canterbury's Under-19 player of the year in 2014, he played for New Zealand Under-20 in 2015 and debuted for Canterbury in the NPC a year later. He scored five tries in eight games.


He got a Crusaders contract in 2017 and made 67 appearances for the side. A year later, he was the top try scorer in Super Rugby and made his All Blacks debut in the same season, scoring a try off his first touch of the ball against Japan.


Bridge was a regular starter for the All Blacks in 2019 and joined the club of All Blacks to have scored four tries in a Test when achieving the feat in the 92-7 win over Tonga in Hamilton in a World Cup warm-up game.


Bridge started four of the World Cup games. During his Test career, he scored 12 tries.


Bridge's teammate Sevu Reece has extended his contract with the Crusaders until 2024. In 55 appearances for the side, Reece has scored 44 tries.


Robertson regards him as one of the world's top try-scoring wings.


"His impact on the field, and ability to create something from nothing is a special gift," he said.


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