Bath sign New Zealand fly-half Stephen Donald

Stephen Donald
Donald is due to arrive at Bath after the World Cup in New Zealand

Bath have signed New Zealand fly-half Stephen Donald, BBC Sport understands.

The 27-year-old is believed to have signed a two-and-half-year contract and will arrive at the Premiership outfit in November.

He has 22 caps and is expected to be part of the All Blacks' World Cup squad, which is announced in July.

Donald, whose contract with Super 15 side Chiefs expires this year, is seen as a direct replacement for Butch James, who left Bath this season.

At 6ft 3in and almost 100kg (nearly 16 stone) he will match the physicality of the departed Springbok, who spent four seasons at the Rec.

Since James announced his departure in February, Bath have been linked with Donald's All Black team-mate Dan Carter, who committed himself to the New Zealand Rugby Union for another four years last month, and troubled England international Danny Cipriani.

And a trip to South Africa by director of rugby Sir Ian McGeechan to meet Donald while he was touring with the Chiefs sparked rumours that Mornie Steyn might be the next Springbok to grace the Recreation Ground.

However, it is understood the Kiwi has been their main target for the last few months.

By moving to Europe, Donald will sacrifice his place in the All Blacks squad.

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