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Payne relishing chance to play All Blacks

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    15 Mar 2016     Getty Images

Payne, who has played 13 Tests for Ireland and who has signed for another two years with Ulster, told British magazine Rugby World that while the opportunity would be one to savour he wasn't hanging out to achieve the feat.

However, much more appealing was the prospect of turning out for Ireland against the All Blacks in Chicago later in the year, and then two weeks later in Dublin.

"That would definitely be very high on the bucket list," Payne, 30, said.

"When I heard about that, it put a smile on my face. I wouldn't be one to look too far ahead, but that's one which is definitely in the back of your mind, constantly.

"To be involved in an Irish team that beat the All Blacks – that would be unbelievable," he said.

Payne said he would also like to win a title of some sort with Ulster.

"We've talked about it for so many years, it's getting a bit annoying to be honest – all this talk about nearly men. It would be bloody good to finally get across the line.

"That, and to beat the All Blacks would do me fine!" he said.

Payne said after some early worries about how he would be accepted in the Ireland camp, it had worked out. Players were taking the mickey out of him and he said that made him feel welcome.

"Then, getting picked for my first cap against South Africa, and winning, and the feeling in the dressing room afterwards. It all helped," he said.

"If you'd told me before my first cap that it would go this way, that we'd win a Six Nations and I'd play at a World Cup, I'd have been very happy.

"There are still a few areas I'd like to improve but all in all it's good. Injuries are disappointing but unavoidable in this game," he said of the broken bone in his foot suffered during the World Cup.

Payne will be joined at Ulster next season by former All Black Charles Piutau, who has enjoyed an outstanding season with Wasps while waiting to take up his Ulster contract.