New Zealand Rugby to release Brad Shields for England vs. South Africa

Brad Shields Kiyoshi Ota/Getty Images

New Zealand Rugby (NZR) will release Hurricanes loose forward Brad Shields from his contract and he will therefore be available for selection for Eddie Jones' England when they tour South Africa next month.

While NZR head of professional rugby Chris Lendrum insisted that Shield's contract tied him to Canes until the end of the Super Rugby season -- and admitted disappointment at the RFU -- they granted the request to a player they described as "an exceptional leader inside the Hurricanes environment and a loyal servant to New Zealand Rugby".

"We have taken some time to carefully work through the complexities of this request, to ensure that we gave appropriate consideration to his specific circumstances. In the end, we are happy with the terms of his temporary release, " Lendrum said.

"We are extremely disappointed that the RFU chose to take this unusual step in seeking this release given that Brad has not yet played rugby in England.

"We are releasing Brad with our best wishes, and we hope to see him achieve his goal of playing international rugby in June."

Brad Shields added: "I'm really appreciative that New Zealand Rugby has considered my request. I know it's been a complex matter for them but I'm hugely grateful for their support on this."