Outstanding loose forward Steven Luatua has pledged his allegiance to the Blues and New Zealand Rugby for a further two years, re-signing through to the end of the 2017 season.
Luatua defies his 23 years, having already played 14 Tests for the All Blacks and 43 Super Rugby caps for the Blues. He has a rich pedigree as a former New Zealand school representative and played in successive Junior World Championship-winning New Zealand Under-20 teams in 2010 and 2011.
He made his provincial debut as a teenager in 2010, his debut for the Blues in 2012 and his All Blacks debut the following year in the 24-9 victory over France in New Zealand. While he missed out on the All Blacks end of season tour in 2014, he enjoyed his second appearance for the Barbarians at Twickenham, and the benefits of a full off-season preparation for the 2015 Super Rugby season.
NZR General Manager Rugby Neil Sorensen said: “Having Steven re-sign with New Zealand Rugby and the Blues is tremendous news. He is still a young player but with more than 40 Super Rugby games and 14 Test matches already under his belt, he has already shown he has the skills and physical presence to succeed at the highest level and we welcome his ongoing contribution to our game over the next few years.”
Blues head coach Sir John Kirwan believes Luatua will prove to be a great All Black by the time he finishes his career.
“Steven is a special player who matches his extraordinary skills with great character as a person, a physical presence and intelligence,” said Kirwan. “He has quickly become a key member of our leadership group and his maturity as a rugby player and a person definitely defies his years.”
Luatua will play in his eighth straight Super Rugby clash for the Blues who return to Eden Park for the first time this season to play the Brumbies on Friday night.