Fast-developing loose forward Hoskins Sotutu will remain at the Blues until at least 2022.
The 21-year-old Sotutu has added a further two years to his initial contract after joining the Blues in 2019, having come through the organisation’s development programme, playing for Auckland and New Zealand Under-20s.
He has been a standout in Investec Super Rugby this year with nearly 500m in carries, an average of around 50m per game, and is currently fourth highest in this part of the game in the Investec Super Rugby Aotearoa statistics.
He averages over eight tackles per game and is currently top of the tackle count in Super Rugby Aotearoa with 38 in three games.
Blues coach Leon MacDonald said Sotutu has been one of the team stand-outs so far this season.
“He has a unique skillset which is well-rounded. He has set-up tries with his kicking and with accurate missed passes yet he can do the core roles of carrying hard, offloading, making his tackles and an asset in the lineout,” said MacDonald.
“Hoskins got his chance with the work he did pre-season and has continued to deliver game-in, game-out, and he is developing from a very quiet teenager to a real contributor off the field also.
“He has come out of the Blues and Auckland systems and if he continues to develop with the same attitude, he can look forward to a long and successful career with us.”
MacDonald said Sotutu had initially indicated his desire to re-sign earlier but the Covid-19 lockdown had stalled the formalities.
Sotutu played several sports as a young teenager before taking the advice of his father, former Fiji, Blues and Auckland back Waisake Sotutu, to “give rugby a good shot” when he was 17, playing two years for the Sacred Heart College 1st XV.
He began his rugby life as a winger, like his father, moving to lock, and even first-five for club in his first year out of school, before settling at No 8.
“I have signed for two more years with the Blues which is great,” said Sotutu. “My goals are for the Blues to kick-on in this competition how we left off before Covid-19, keep the team strong and help them continue to improve.
“It is all about the team for me. I don’t like to look too far ahead. I like to focus on the team I am playing for.”
The Blues expect to finalise other contract extensions before the end of the competition.