Media note: Jimmy Cowan will be available for interview today at the Highlanders media session at 4.30PM at Logan Park, Dunedin. For further information contact Doug McSweeney on the details below.
New Zealand Rugby has today paid tribute to All Blacks, Highlanders and Southland halfback Jimmy Cowan who has announced he will be leaving New Zealand to play for English club Gloucester.
28–year–old Cowan, who is currently in the midst of his tenth year with the Highlanders, will leave for Gloucester later in the year.
Cowan has played 51 Tests for the All Blacks since making his Test debut against Italy on the 2004 Northern Hemisphere tour. He played his 50th Test against Canada in last year’s Rugby World Cup. Ten days ago former All Blacks captain and New Zealand Rugby Union (NZRU) Board Member Graham Mourie presented Cowan with a commemorative greenstone mere on behalf of the NZRU to celebrate him becoming just the second Highlanders player (behind hooker Anton Oliver) to play 100 matches for the franchise. He has also clocked up 94 matches for his beloved Southland province.
NZRU CEO Steve Tew said: “Jimmy is one of the real characters of New Zealand rugby and has grown so much as a player and a person since coming onto the scene more than a decade ago. He has been an incredibly loyal player – for his club, province, the Highlanders and the All Blacks – and we wish him well.”
All Blacks Coach Steve Hansen said: “Jimmy has been an outstanding All Black and given his all every time he has worn the black jersey. He is a passionate player and fantastic team man who wears his heart on his sleeve. Jimmy has the respect of all his teammates because of his commitment to the team and his mates and we are very proud of what he has achieved at all levels of the game. When he does go, he goes with the best wishes of the team.”
Highlanders CEO Roger Clark said Jimmy had been an exceptional and loyal Highlander since playing his first game back in 2003.
“He is revered by the fans and admired by his peers as a player who never gives less than 100 percent on the field. Jimmy always put the team first and he will always have a special place in the hearts of Highlanders players and fans. After over 100 games and nine years with the Highlanders, Jimmy will depart the Highlanders and New Zealand with the blessing of every rugby fan south of the Waitaki.”
Highlanders Coach Jamie Joseph said: “Jimmy has been a player who has always given his all on the field and I’m sure he will continue to do so in the future. As one of only two players to play 100 games for the Highlanders he leaves behind a significant legacy.”
Rugby Southland General Manager Brian Hopley said: “For over a decade Jimmy has been an outstanding ambassador for Southland Rugby. He has shown through his achievements just what is possible by staying loyal. Jimmy has accomplished some notable milestones recently and we look forward to him having the chance to reach another this season with 100 games for the Stags. We wish Jimmy all the best and know he will continue to make Southlanders proud.”
Hailing from the small Southland town of Mataura, Jimmy Cowan is a big, strong halfback with an eye for the gap around rucks and mauls. A scrappy, physical player, clever kicker and strong runner on the burst, Cowan isn’t one to back down from any opponent. After making his All Blacks Test debut in 2004, he cemented his spot in the team in 2008, starting in eight Tests and coming off the bench in four more. He was also part of the All Blacks Rugby World Cup-winning squad in 2011 and has scored seven tries in the black jersey. He made his provincial debut for Southland in 2000 and in 2004 at the age of 22 became the youngest player to play 50 games for his province. He made his Highlanders debut in 2003, was New Zealand’s Super Rugby player of the year in 2005 and captained the Highlanders in 2010.