Bath confirm signing of All Black Stephen Donald

Stephen Donald
Donald was given permission to play in England by an RFU panel on Friday

Bath have completed the signing of New Zealand fly-half Stephen Donald on a three-year deal.

The 27-year-old, who has 22 international caps, arrives at the Rec from Super 15 side Chiefs.

Director of rugby Sir Ian McGeechan said: "We are very much looking forward to Stephen joining us here at Bath.

"Players he has played alongside all speak very highly of his ability and in particular his character, and we expect him to fit in very well here."

Doubts were cast over his move to the Premiership because Rugby Football Union rules state foreign players must have featured for their country in the last 15 months, and Donald has not played for the All Blacks since September 2009.

But after an appeal by Bath, Donald was given an endorsement to play in England.

An RFU spokesman said: "The panel accepted that Stephen Donald is an internationally established player of the highest calibre who can play an important role in the development of the game at the top level in this country."

Donald was left out of Graham Henry's provisional New Zealand squad for this year's World Cup, meaning it is highly unlikely he will play any part in the competition.