Victor Vito signs with La Rochelle

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    03 Feb 2016     Getty Images

The All Blacks and Hurricanes loose forward who played 33 Tests for the All Blacks and who was a member of the 2011 and 2015 World Cup-winning New Zealand sides said it had been a tough decision to make but he felt it was the right one for his young family.

Vito, 28, said: "I feel truly blessed to have had the opportunity to represent the All Blacks, Wellington and the Hurricanes over the past 10 years.

"It's been an honour and I've cherished every match, but I feel like the time has come for a fresh challenge and I'm excited about the next chapter with La Rochelle."

Vito first played for Wellington in 2006 and made 62 appearances for the side. He debuted in Super Rugby in 2009 and has made 84 appearances for the Hurricanes and he was first selected for the All Blacks in 2010.

He said his All Blacks career had been something of a roller coaster ride being in and out of the side over six seasons.

"If I'm honest I probably wasn't mentally ready until 2014," he said.

"Luckily for me Steve Hansen and the other coaches persevered and over the past two years in particular I've been pretty proud of what I've done in the black jersey.

"It's never easy to fight the ego and say no to the chance to represent your country, but my young family trumps my ego any day, especially when there is a chance to provide them with a better future," he said.

In the meantime Vito is working toward his goal of helping the Hurricanes achieve a Super Rugby title in 2016, especially after being the beaten finalists last year.

"I'm putting all my efforts into making sure we get our preparation right in the pre-season so we can give ourselves a chance later in the year," he said.

Hurricanes coach Chris Boyd said Vito had been committed to Wellington and the Hurricanes, playing for no-one else during his career while Wellington chairman Iain Potter said: "He's influenced and inspired an innumerable number of young players with his play, but also set an example as a real role model off the field."