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Colin Slade joins New Zealand exodus

Photo by Rob Jefferies/Getty Images

Colin Slade will join the New Zealand exodus next season having agreed to join Pau.

ESPN understands Slade has penned a three-year deal with the newly promoted PROD2 side and will earn in the region of €500,000 a season. Pau's promotion to the Top 14 was confirmed on Saturday thanks to a 31-5 win over Montauban.

Slade will dovetail in Pau's midfield with fellow All Black Conrad Smith with the duo set to arrive after the 2015 Rugby World Cup. There will be a strong Kiwi influence at the club with one-cap All Black Simon Mannix at the helm.

All Blacks coach Steve Hansen will not welcome the news as he is facing a growing number of his players opting to leave New Zealand for pastures new. Charles Piutau, Dan Carter, Ben Franks and Jeremy Thrush will all be in Europe next season and, speaking to Stuff.co.nz, Hansen admits 2016 will be a real test of New Zealand's strength in depth.

"2016 is going to be one of the most difficult years for All Black rugby because not only are we losing people as it's time for them to go overseas or retire, and we've lost one or two other people we didn't want to lose, but we're also going to lose some guys to the Olympics," Hansen told Stuff. "We could lose up to 15 players out of our current 31-man squad, which is massive."