Cardiff Blues can confirm that their latest signing Casey Laulala has arrived in Cardiff following Canterbury's 28 to 20 Air New Zealand Cup win over Wellington in Christchurch.
This was the 7th time that Canterbury had won the Cup but the first time they had done it back-to-back in the provincial championship.
Twenty-seven year old Laulala arrived in Wales with his wife Lydia and 16 month old daughter Misha and has been impressed with what he has seen so far of Cardiff.
"It was a pretty good journey as we had a break on the way over and had a few days relaxing on an island off Singapore."
"I got bored by the end because I don't like just sitting around and couldn't wait to get over."
"It was good to see the facilities on the internet but when you see them for real, they're very impressive."
"The training centre and stadium are brand new. We've got good facilities back home but to see things over here is quite an eye opener."
Casey made his debut for New Zealand against Wales in Cardiff in November 2004 and went on to play for the All Blacks against Ireland in 2006.
Described by many as one of the hardest players to contain in broken field play in the New Zealand game, Casey is the son of an airline pilot for Polynesian Airlines, and was schooled at Wesley College - the same south Auckland institution that gifted the world game former Cardiff Blue and international rugby superstar, Jonah Lomu.
Speaking of leaving New Zealand, Casey said,
"It was good to leave Canterbury on a high having won the Air New Zealand Cup but I was ready for a change."
"I wanted a change of lifestyle and living in Europe certainly appealed. However I also wanted a change of environment on the rugby front having played for the same team for 7 years, so I was looking for something different."
"Playing in the Heineken Cup would be incredible."
"I watched the big Heineken Cup games on TV last season and they were awesome, but unfortunately the semi-final was decided on a kicking contest, which was a bit pathetic."
"It was impressive to see the amount of people that attended the matches as we don't have crowds that big in New Zealand."
"I think people are more passionate here - even in the Air New Zealand Cup Final we only had a crowd of 10,000."
"There were a few teams including Munster who approached me, but having spoken to Dai Young and Bob Norster I was impressed with the way they went about the whole process and the way things were conducted."
"The Blues also showed a lot of faith in me and followed me with interest when I injured my arm which was good to know as sometimes people get a bit down when they pick up injuries."
"The arm is fine now, I've played a lot of games since and it's as strong as ever."
"I used to play golf with Ben Blair back in Canterbury so we are big friends and he helped me make the decision."
"It will be good to see Ben again but I'm sure he will tell me all his kicking stats as soon as I see him."
"I'm sure we will go out for a game of golf to catch up, although he's the most frustrating guy to play golf against as he takes all day to get his swing and putting right."
Cardiff Blues play Connacht on Sunday 6 December, 3.00pm kick off. Supporters can buy one ticket for the match and get one free. Tickets can be purchased online on www.cardiffblues.com/tickets
The match will also be the Blues Regional Clubs day, an opportunity for all clubs in the Blues region to be represented at Cardiff City Stadium. This popular event sees each club in the region offered 30 free tickets for their junior members to enjoy a Magners League clash. Last season's match was a resounding success with many clubs from all corners of the region in attendance, this season all club's who are here are invited to take part in the Regional Club's parade at half time.
Blues Regional Clubs day also sees the return of the immensely popular mascot race. Last season Rhiwbina's squirrel put in a dazzling performance in front of an Arms Park crowd. This season, after a summer of hard work Bruiser is desperate to regain his title, the first time this annual event is held at his new home. Good luck Bruiser!
All Blues Cup winners from last season have been invited down to the match to parade their trophies at half time.
2008/09 Blues Cup Winners
Under 10 Rumney RFC
Under 11 Rhiwbina RFC
Under 12 Pontypridd RFC
Under 13 St Albans RFC
Under 14 Pontypridd RFC
Under 15 Cardiff Schools
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