Pro12: Ospreys sign ex-New Zealand scrum-half Brendon Leonard

Brendon Leonard's last cap for New Zealand was against Wales in 2009
Brendon Leonard featured as a replacement in the All Blacks' 2007 World Cup quarter-final loss to France

Ospreys have signed scrum-half Brendon Leonard from Italian side Zebre on a three-year deal from 2015-16.

The 29-year-old, who played 13 Tests for New Zealand, will provide experienced rivalry and cover for Rhys Webb while the latter is on Wales duty.

Leonard's last Test for the All Blacks was the 19-12 win over Wales in 2009 at Millennium Stadium in Cardiff.

Leonard joined Zebre in August 2013 from Waikato on a two-year deal and moves after Welsh Rugby Union approval.

He impressed when Zebre beat Ospreys for the first time in May 2014 and starred in their historic 30-25 win over Cardiff Blues in the Welsh capital that season.

Former Waikato coach Chris Gibbes, now in charge of Ospreys' forwards, will be on had to welcome Leonard when he arrives ahead of the 2015-16 season.

Leonard said in an Ospreys statement: "Yes, I've got plenty of experience to call on, and I always want to use that to help my team-mates, but I'm of the mindset that you never stop learning, wherever you are in life.

"What struck me the most is that the Ospreys is an environment where I'll be able to continue learning.

"It's something that is expected from everyone involved there."

Ospreys' rugby general manager Andrew Millward said: "Anyone who has watched Brendon play will know he is a real attacking threat and will add something different to our armoury.

"He really understands the game and has a proper rugby brain. He's smart, and will be an asset."

Any Welsh region wishing to sign an overseas player must first be granted permission by the governing body.

Ospreys have benefited in the past from recruiting experienced New Zealanders, with the likes of Justin Marshall, Jason Spice, Filo Tiatia, Marty Holah, Jerry Collins, Adrian Cashmore and Campbell Johnstone all contributing during their time at Liberty Stadium.

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