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Carter to join French club Racing Metro

AUCKLAND, New Zealand (AP) All Blacks flyhalf Daniel Carter confirmed Thursday he will end his test career after next year's World Cup and join French club Racing Metro on a deal that could make him rugby's highest-paid player.

The 32-year-old Carter, the most prolific scorer in world rugby with 1,455 points in 102 tests, announced his decision at a news conference to join what is expected to be an exodus of leading test players to European clubs after the World Cup.

Veteran Wallabies utility back Adam Ashley-Cooper on Wednesday announced he will join France's Bordeaux-Begles at the end of 2015, as well.

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Smith rejoins All Blacks coaching staff

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) Former assistant Wayne Smith will rejoin the All Blacks' coaching staff ahead of next year's Rugby World Cup as a defense specialist.

Smith was an assistant to Graham Henry between 2004 and 2011 and a key member of the coaching combination which won the 2011 World Cup in New Zealand. He has since between co-coach of the Chiefs team which has won two Super Rugby titles. (MORE)

Lock Horwill to join Harlequins

BRISBANE, Australia (AP) Former Wallaby captain James Horwill will join English club Harlequins after next year's Rugby World Cup.

Queensland Rugby said in a statement Thursday the big lock will play another Super Rugby season in 2015 with the Queensland Reds before taking up a three-year contract in England beginning in October. (MORE)

Ireland has 4 warmup tests for World Cup

DUBLIN (AP) Ireland will play four warmup tests for the Rugby World Cup next year, the last against England at Twickenham two weeks before its tournament opener.

The Irish Rugby Football Union announced the schedule on Wednesday. (MORE)

Wales announce pre-Rugby World Cup plans

CARDIFF, Wales (AP) Wales' preparations for next year's Rugby World Cup will involve a double-header against Ireland, an international against Italy and a training camp in the extreme July heat of Qatar.

The plans announced on Tuesday start with a training camp in early July in Switzerland, where the squad will spend two weeks living at high altitude and training at low altitude. (MORE)

Hansen extends term as All Blacks coach

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) Steve Hansen's term as All Blacks head coach has been extended by two years, ensuring he will be in charge when the British and Irish Lions tour New Zealand in 2017.

New Zealand Rugby chief executive Steve Tew told a news conference Tuesday that Hansen will continue in his role for two years after the 2015 World Cup. (MORE)

SAfrica beat NZ to lead Sevens series

PORT ELIZABTH, South Africa (AP) South Africa retained its home sevens title by edging New Zealand 26-17 in a stirring final and taking the lead in the sevens rugby world series on Sunday.

South Africa also pipped the Kiwis in last year's final, and the rematch was no less riveting before 36,000 at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium. (MORE)


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