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    Hames, Pulu pen new Chiefs deals

    2016-09-30 10:33

    Waikato - The Chiefs have announced the re-signing of new All Blacks frontrow Kane Hames and fast-paced wing Toni Pulu.

    Hames has signed for the forthcoming 2017 season, while Pulu will don the Chiefs jersey in 2017 and 2018.

    Both players excelled in their debut seasons for the Chiefs in 2016, making the most of their opportunities with commanding performances on field.

    "Toni is a top man who was an excellent performer in his breakthrough season," said Chiefs head coach Dave Rennie.

    "His speed, power and ability to finish saw him start consistently but it’s his character and work ethic that impresses most. He’s a great signing for us.

    "Kane’s 2016 season is an amazing story of perseverance. It started with him rehabbing an injury and doing a bit of club coaching. It finished with him replacing Pauliasi Manu, dominating the Chiefs number one jersey and making his All Black debut in Brisbane.

    "Kane is his own man, an innovative thinker and played a big role alongside Hoefty developing our scrum and young props. We’ve loved his input and look forward to that sort of contribution next season."

    American born speedster Pulu said: "I’m very excited to get another opportunity with the Chiefs and I am looking forward to the challenge.

    "I really enjoyed this past season with the Chiefs, in particular continuing to better myself as a rugby player with support from great coaches and from my teammates. I can’t wait to pull on the jersey again."

    Kane Hames shared his reasons for committing to the Chiefs.

    "I received an opportunity to be part of the Chiefs set up through Carl Hoeft, Dave Dillon and Kieran Keane as they knew me and a bit about me when an injury cover was needed," he said.

    "They gave me a chance and I got to be around some world class players and coaches who helped take my development to where I wanted it to be. I will always be thankful to those people for the opportunity.

    "The Chiefs have the facilities and staff to help players succeed and it shows with the Chiefs consistently being at the business end of the season every year.

    "I look forward to being a Chief in the 2017 season and hope to do my bit to contribute to the next step in the journey of the Chiefs Rugby Club."

    Resilience and perseverance are two words that aptly describe Counties Manukau back Pulu, who fought his way back from injury to make his Super Rugby debut for the Chiefs in March against the Force, scoring a try with his first touch of the ball. The 1.84m and 97kg 27-year-old added four more tries to his name in his 12 appearances for the Gallagher Chiefs in 2016.

    Hames has had an incredible year. The 28-year-old front rower was called into the Chiefs squad as injury cover, going on to play nine strong games and pique the interest of All Blacks selectors.

    He made his debut for the All Blacks off the bench against the Wallabies in August this year, which was fitting reward for his patience and work ethic. The 1.81m and 111kg studious loose head prop hails from Bay of Plenty but currently plays his Mitre 10 Cup rugby with the Tasman Makos.

    The Maori All Blacks representative is also a registered rugby referee.

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