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Dominic Bird hangs up the boots after 12 years in professional rugby


After more than a decade in professional rugby, Wellington Lions lock Dominic (Dom) Bird has decided to call it time on his illustrious career.

The 2.06m former All Black played for six teams across his career, which included Canterbury, the Crusaders, Chiefs, Racing 92 (France), and the Hurricanes; with Dom rounding out his playing days this year with the Lions in the Bunnings Warehouse NPC.

Bird, who was part of the widely renowned New Zealand 2011 World Under-20 Championship winning side, pointed out spending more time with his kids and partner as the primary reason he’s decided to exit the game.  

“It’s all about my family,” he said.

“My kids are Wellington-based, and I didn’t want to chase rugby elsewhere. I just want to stay here and spend more time with my family, so I felt it was the right time to retire.”

While he won many titles over his prolonged career, one that sticks out clearly in Bird’s mind was the NPC title he won in 2022 with the Wellington Lions – a team he said holds dear and was happy to end his playing career with.

“There have been many great highlights in my career. I loved my time with the All Blacks, the Barbarians, and I loved my time in France. But winning my seventh NPC medal with Wellington in 2022 is right up there. Playing with the group we had and the classy rugby we put out there, it was amazing, and I’ll never forget it.

“Finishing up with Wellington also means a lot. We had a great group of lads who helped make this place feel like home for me. Playing in the Lions environment with this team was no doubt a high to finish on.

“But I’m also pleased I don’t have to do anymore broncos,” he quipped.

Dom’s final message for the fans: “Thanks for the journey. It’s been amazing and I cherish all the support I’ve been given from everyone far and wide.”