Laulala lands in Cardiff
New Blues recruit ready for challenge
By Ally Fisher. Last Updated: 02/12/09 10:12am
New Cardiff Blues signing Casey Laulala is relishing the chance to shine after finally arriving in Wales.
"Playing in the Heineken Cup would be incredible. I watched the big Heineken Cup games on TV last season and they were awesome."
Casey Laulala Quotes of the week
The 27-year-old's move was delayed because of Canterbury's run in Air New Zealand Cup - however the 28-20 victory over Wellington was his final match..
Although born in Samoa, Casey has been capped twice by the All Blacks making his debut against Wales in Cardiff in November 2004.
And despite other clubs taking a keen interest in the centre - including Munster - Laulala was impressed with Cardiff's set-up.
He said: "There were a few teams including Munster who approached me, but having spoken to Dai Young and Rob Norster I was impressed with the way they went about the whole process and the way things were conducted.
"It was good to see the facilities on the Internet but when you see them for real, they're very impressive.
"Playing in the Heineken Cup would be incredible. I watched the big Heineken Cup games on TV last season and they were awesome.
"It was impressive to see the amount of people that attended the matches as we don't have crowds that big in New Zealand."
Having scored 20 tries in 61 Super Rugby appearances for the Crusaders, Laulala is looking forward to the challenge ahead.
Laulala 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 seven years."
The powerful centre is pleased with the clubs new facilities and is looking forward to the next rounds of the Heineken Cup.
Schooled at Wesley College the same institution as former Cardiff and international star Jonah Lomu, Casey will have a familiar face in Ben Blair.
"I used to play golf with Ben Blair back in Canterbury so we are big friends and he helped me make the decision," he added.
"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."