Back Jared Payne joins Ulster from Auckland Blues

Jared Payne
Jared Payne is moving to Ulster from the Auckland Blues

Ulster have signed versatile back Jared Payne from the Auckland Blues on a three-year contract.

A former New Zealand Under-21 international, Payne made his Super Rugby debut for the Waikato Chiefs in 2007.

He then spent two years with the Canterbury Crusaders and joined the Auckland Blues earlier this year before the Super Rugby tournament.

The 25-year-old can play at either wing, centre or full-back.

"I had always thought that I would like the chance to play abroad at some stage in my career," said Payne, who has led his province Northland in the ITM Cup, New Zealand's domestic championship, since 2009.

"I didn't think that chance would come up as early as it has but I am delighted to have signed for Ulster.

"I have spoken with David Humphreys at length about the rugby set-up and have certainly been impressed by what they are trying to achieve and how they are going about it.

"I have also talked to some friends from outside rugby circles about what life in Northern Ireland will be like and I am really looking forward to arriving in Belfast."