Rugby

Mealamu commits to All Blacks

2009-02-05 12:23
Staying in NZ (Gallo Images)
Auckland - All Blacks hooker and Blues captain Keven Mealamu has agreed to a two-year contract extension with the New Zealand Rugby Union and Auckland Rugby through to the end of 2011.

Mealamu, whose previous contract was through to the end of 2009, joins a group of leading players who have committed to New Zealand rugby through to 2011, including All Blacks captain Richie McCaw, Dan Carter, Ma'a Nonu and Andrew Hore.

Twenty-nine-year-old Mealamu, who captained the All Blacks against Scotland on last year's Grand Slam tour, said he loved playing rugby in New Zealand.

"I love playing for Auckland, the Blues and the All Blacks. For me, the best way to show my commitment to continue playing rugby in New Zealand was to sign until the end of 2011.

"I believe it's an honour to play for the All Blacks and it would be very special indeed to play at a Rugby World Cup held in our country. Also, my wife and I believe the best place to raise our young family is right here."

New Zealand Rugby Union CEO Steve Tew said Mealamu was not only a key rugby player for the All Blacks, the Blues and his Auckland team but 'an exceptional person' as well.

"He is a leader in the All Blacks, respected by his peers and a key influence for younger players as well and we are delighted to have him re-sign with New Zealand rugby."

Auckland Rugby and Blues CEO Andy Dalton said Mealamu's significant commitment to local and national rugby over the next few years epitomised the integrity of the Blues' captain.

"Keven is one of the most respected players in the game today, both at home and abroad. He represents what is great about the game of rugby, on and off the field. We are extremely proud to have him in our union and franchise and welcome the continuance of our partnership."

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